You can prepare for your emotional wellness | Columnists

IT’S OK TO ASK

Jan Finch, PhD, LCSW-S is the Stephen Ministry Leader and past chair of the Comanche Peak Coalition for Mental Health.

Autumn is in the air! You may have noticed cooler temperatures and shorter days. Fall is a good time to prepare for winter. Yes, we might get out the pumpkins and the fall decorations, but how do we prepare for the coming winter? It will certainly not be as difficult as last winter, the dreaded winter of 2020, with the great frost that surprised us all.

Let’s get ready for our emotional wellbeing. Like the bear that eats large amounts before hibernating, we should stock up on some strategies to keep us emotionally well for the months to come!

Here are strategies from the National Institute of Health that may be of interest to you.

Brighten your prospects. People who are emotionally good, experts say, have fewer negative emotions and can recover from difficulties more quickly. This quality is called resilience. Another sign of emotional well-being is holding on to positive emotions longer and cherishing the good times.

Remember your good deeds. Give yourself credit for the good things you do for others every day.

Forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. Learn from what went wrong, but don’t dwell on it.

Practice gratitude. Create positive emotions by being grateful every day. Write down what you are grateful for.

Spend more time with your friends. Surround yourself with positive, healthy people.

Explore your beliefs about the meaning and purpose of life. Think about ways you can guide your life on the principles that are important to you.

Develop healthy physical habits. Healthy eating, physical activity, and regular sleep can improve your physical and mental health.

Everyone feels stressed out from time to time. Stress can give you a boost of energy when it’s needed most. But when stress persists – a condition known as chronic stress – those “mindful” changes become more harmful than helpful. Learning healthy ways to manage stress can also increase your resilience.

TIPS FOR STRESS MANAGEMENT

– Get enough sleep. Adults need 7 or more hours per night, school age children 9-12 and teenagers 8-10.

– Do sports regularly. Just 30 minutes of walking a day can lift your mood and relieve stress.

– Enjoy regular social activities. Create a social support network.

– Set priorities. Decide what needs to be done and what can wait. Say no to new tasks if you feel like they are too much.

– Show compassion for yourself. Write down what you achieved at the end of the day, not what you did not achieve.

– Schedule regular times for a relaxing activity that uses mindfulness / breathing exercises like yoga or tai chi.

– Searching for help. Talk to a psychiatrist if you feel unable to have thoughts of suicide or use drugs or alcohol to deal with them.

Additional resources can be found on the Comanche Peak Coalition for Mental Health website at www.comanchepeakmh.org

Comanche Peak is an association of over 40 agencies and individuals in Hood and Somervell Counties who work to promote emotional wellbeing in our beautiful community.

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