7 Essential Ways to Support Your Mental Health

October 10th is World Mental Health Day!

The first thing that popped into my mind when I thought about World Mental Health Day was “Take care of your body.” As a mental health therapist I have seen it borne out time and time again that the mind and body are connected. 

When someone comes to my office for therapy I get nosey about a handful of behaviors which are intertwined with mental health. Here are many of the questions I ask so that you can see how you are doing in these fundamental areas: [1]As with everything on this website, this is not meant to substitute for seeking mental health care when needed from a qualified professional

PhysicaL Illness/Health

  • When was your last check-up with your physician? 
  • Did you get a blood panel including thyroid levels? 
  • Are you regularly taking prescribed medications as prescribed?
  • Do you take time off when needed for physical and emotional health symptoms?

Balanced Eating 

  • How well and often do you eat?
  • What foods help you feel calm, energized, sluggish?
  • How does sugar and caffeine affect your mood?

Avoid Mood Altering Substances

  • If you drink alcohol, how much and how often? 
  • If you use marijuana or THC, how much and how often?
  • If you use any other substances, how much and how often?
  • How do the above make you feel physically and emotionally?

Sleep

  • How much sleep do you get?
  • Do you keep a consistent sleep schedule?
  • Do you take naps?
  • What time do you stop eating for the day?
  • Do you stop screen time an hour before bed and/or use a blue light filter on your screens?
  • What are some things you have done to make your environment conducive to sleep (eliminating anything that produces light such as screens, alarm clocks, or using a sleeping mask/light blocking curtains; keeping the temperature cool; reducing noise or using a white sound device)?

Exercise

  • How often do you get exercise/movement in your life?
  • What kind of movement do you do?
  • What kind of movement do you like best?

Master

  • Mastery is something you do everyday to help you feel capable, confident, and/or challenged.
  • What are your interests and hobbies?
  • What are you good at?
  • What kind of skills/new things are you learning?
  • How well are you tending to daily needs such as chores around the house and grooming yourself?

Socializing

  • Who are the most important people in your life?
  • How often do you see or talk to those people?
  • Does anyone put you down, humiliate you or try to control what you do? 
  • Do you ever worry about your safety or feel threatened by someone in your life? 
  • Have you ever been physically hurt by someone in your life? [2]If you are experience abuse, consider if your situation is safe enough to access the Abuse and Domestic Violence information on my Resources Page.

Putting It All Together

You will notice the first five items create the acronym PLEASE. Dr. Marsha M. Linehan, originator of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) identified these five components plus Mastery as essential skills to maintaining emotional resilience. I added Socializing at the end. Health and healing cannot take place in isolation. We need connection with others to be whole. 

So remember, PLEASE Master Socializing if you want to support your mental health. Start by identifying one area that is being neglected and one to two things you can do to strengthen that area. Something simple like making your bed in the morning (Mastery), taking a walk around the block daily (Exercise), or texting a friend a reason you are grateful for them (Socializing) are excellent ways to build these skills into your life.


References

References
1 As with everything on this website, this is not meant to substitute for seeking mental health care when needed from a qualified professional
2 If you are experience abuse, consider if your situation is safe enough to access the Abuse and Domestic Violence information on my Resources Page.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.