Maintaining good mental health is an integral component to a person’s overall health. There is often a negative stigma associated with mental health, but it is an incredibly important topic, especially in a stressful environment like observed in many high schools across the country.
Mental health includes a person’s psychological, emotional, and social well-being and can affect how someone acts and feels (What Is Mental Health?). Maintaining positive mental health allows a person to be productive and make positive contributions, big or small, to the world around them.
Here’s a list of ways to help you maintain good mental health:
1. Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep plays a critical role in good mental health. Sleeping too little can impair one’s ability to think and can increase the risk for various mental health disorders. Studies have shown that when your body goes into REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, it helps with learning and can contribute positively to emotional health (Sleep and Mental Health). This makes sleep a crucial part of maintaining strong mental health.
2. Manage Your Stress
Stress is the feeling of being under pressure and can be detrimental to your mental well-being. While some stress is good and can help with motivation, too much stress can trigger a variety of symptoms (How to Manage and Reduce Stress). For these reasons, it is important to figure out what is causing the stress and take action. In a lot of situations for high schoolers, this stress can be caused by schoolwork. This can be managed by staying organized and finding a good way to manage your time.
3. Take Time For Yourself
Even when you’re busy, it is important to take some time for yourself. Find what makes you happy and relaxed—whether that be reading a book, drawing, or riding your bike—and make sure you have time set aside once in a while to do only that. Sometimes you just need time to take care of yourself and do something you enjoy.
According to Mental Health America, “Meditation can benefit people who have mental health conditions, as well as those who do not. Studies show it can also reduce depression and anxiety, and help people manage chronic pain.” Meditation is greatly beneficial to relaxation and reducing stress, so this is a good way to improve your overall mental health
Exercise can have positive effects on a person’s mood. Studies have shown that a person’s mood can be enhanced just five minutes after moderate exercise (The Exercise Effect). This helps improve a person’s overall mental health and specifically can alleviate stress.
- “What Is Mental Health?” Depression | MentalHealth.gov, www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/ what-is-mental-health.
- Harvard Health Publishing. “Sleep and Mental Health – Harvard Health.” Harvard Health Blog, www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/sleep-and-mental-health.
- “How to Manage and Reduce Stress.” Mental Health Foundation, 4 May 2018, www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-manage-and-reduce-stress.
- “Meditation.” Mental Health America, 4 Oct. 2016, www.mentalhealthamerica.net/meditation.
- “The Exercise Effect” APA, American Psychological Association, www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise.aspx.