5 ways to improve your mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month

Published 1:45 pm Friday, May 3, 2024

5 ways to improve your mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month

It was just a year ago that the Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, released an alarming report about the state of mental health in the United States.

As Way.com reports, Murthy called attention to the fact that over 50% of the population was suffering from loneliness and a lack of connection and emphasized the importance of community and friendship: “Our epidemic of loneliness and isolation has been an underappreciated public health crisis that has harmed individual and societal health. Our relationships are a source of healing and well-being hiding in plain sight – one that can help us live healthier, more fulfilled, and more productive lives. Given the significant health consequences of loneliness and isolation, we must prioritize building social connections the same way we have prioritized other critical public health issues such as tobacco, obesity, and substance use disorders.”

The report went on to state that mental health was a huge contributor to heart disease, stroke, and dementia. In a recent conversation with Bill Maher, Katie Couric aptly put one of the issues into perspective: “Social media has replaced social circles.” So how can we put the genie back into the bottle in a world where cyber-connection has replaced real-life interaction? Or can we? Best-selling author of “Love Yourself Happy: A Journey Back to You,” Shari Alyse, is tackling the issue in her upcoming travel show, where she connects with others across the globe. It was the Surgeon General’s report that actually inspired the forthcoming series. 

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Alyse offers 5 steps to addressing loneliness, called The Daily Five.

  1. Connect with yourself. Take a few minutes for meditation or just some quiet time.
  2. Make a point to connect with someone else. That someone else can be a friend, family member, someone you just met or a co-worker. Just make sure there is an interaction with another person.
  3. Connect with nature. Take a walk outside so you can feel the sunshine and breathe in some fresh air. Look for the natural beauty around you.
  4. Connect with your own creativity. Journal, draw, sing, or do whatever inspires you.
  5. Experience purpose and service. Volunteer for an organization, help another in need, or just give someone a compliment or smile.

“Every day is joyful when you feel fully aligned,” Alyse explained. “There will be rough days, but when you have that center to fall back on, that is joy.  Self-love and positive talk are everything. We all go on autopilot, so I set alarms on my phone every hour that says, ‘connection time.’ It’s a moment to get very aware of what I was thinking. Once I started changing that narrative, so much has changed for me. At the end of the day, you must look at yourself in the mirror and like who you see.”

May’s Mental Health Awareness Month actually began back in 1949 with Mental Health America. The theme for 2024’s campaign is “Where to Start: Mental Health in a Changing World.” The program’s goal has always been to promote awareness of mental health issues, advocate for everyone’s well-being, and offer resources and education.

This story was produced by Way.com and reviewed and distributed by Stacker Media.