January is Mental Wellness Month, and we at Stat Staff Professionals understand the importance of maintaining your mental wellness. We also know that with the stress of life it can sometimes be challenging to focus on your mental health.
To help, we’ve compiled a list of five easy ways to increase your mental wellness.
Keep a Journal
According to a study from the University of Iowa, journaling about traumatic or stressful events can help. The study found that focusing on understanding the trauma and your emotions through journaling can promote positive growth from the event. Be warned though, dwelling on the negative emotions without attempting to understand can lead to more harm1.
According to a review published by The American Journal of Public Health, creative arts can help with mental health. Being creative can help to reduce stress, promote emotional healing, and improve your mood2. If you are shy about being creative, just know that the paintings you create, the poems you write, or the photos you take never need to be shared. Create for yourself and your mental wellness. If you don’t know how to start to be creative, look to your community. Community art groups can be a great starting point to get your creative juices flowing.
We’re not suggesting that you go out ballroom dancing (but if you want to, that’s cool, go for it), but even just dancing in your house can benefit your mental wellness. Studies show that dancing helps to improve mood by increasing levels of serotonin, reduces stress, and helps to develop new neural connections. Plus, dancing exercises your muscles, and a healthy body can help support a healthy mind3.
Avoid Alcohol and Drugs
Self-medicating mental wellness does more harm than good. If you use alcohol or drugs to help you through trauma, stress, or just a hard time, you may initially feel good, but continued use has profound effects. Brain chemistry that involves pleasure, motivation, and emotional regulation can be altered, leading to increased stress levels and potentially worsening mental health symptoms4. To improve your mental wellness, avoid self-medicating. (Check back all month for more blogs about this subject.)
Get Help if You Need It
Lastly, don’t avoid seeking help. The benefits of therapy outweigh the perceived stigma. There are many resources online to aid in finding someone to talk to. Many places work on a sliding scale to take your finances into account.
Why not start 2019 off with a resolution to focus more on your personal mental wellness. No matter how stressful or hectic your life gets, take time to focus on yourself and your health.
 Ullrich, Philip & K Lutgendorf, Susan. (2002). Journaling about stressful events: Effects of cognitive processing and emotional expression. Annals of behavioral medicine: a publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. 24. 244-50. 10.1207/S15324796ABM2403_10.
 Stuckey, H. L., & Nobel, J. (2010). The connection between art, healing, and public health: a review of current literature. American journal of public health, 100(2), 254-63.
 Edwards, S. (n.d.). Dancing and the Brain. Retrieved from http://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain-series/dancing-and-brain
 Are You Self-Medicating & Masking Symptoms of Mental Illness? (n.d.). Retrieved December 28, 2018, from https://americanaddictioncenters.org/adult-addiction-treatment-programs/self-medicating