May is Mental Health Awareness Month

The following tips can help strengthen one of your greatest assets: your mental health. Good mental health keeps you productive, energetic, happy and hopeful–even in the face of life’s challenges.

1. Connect with others
Humans are social animals. Research suggests that people who feel connected are happier, healthier, and may even live longer. To build connections, get engaged in campus clubs and activities. Commit to spending quality time with your friends or loved ones each week.

2. Stay positive
Thinking negatively can affect your mood and your health. People who regularly focus on the positive are less upset by painful events and memories. Ask yourself how realistic your fears are, and don’t assume the worst. Keep a gratitude journal, and write down anything that makes you smile. Remember your achievements and successes instead of dwelling on failures.

3. Get physically active
Stress-induced hormones released during exercise can relieve insomnia, and reduce anxiety and depression. Schedule regular physical activity by logging it into your calendar. Work out with a friend– it’s harder to break a commitment to someone else than to ourselves.

4. Help others
Research suggests that people who consistently help others experience less depression, greater calm, and fewer pains. Volunteer with a community organization– you can make a valuable contribution while forging connections, developing your skills, and learning more about an area that interests you. Helping doesn’t always require huge commitments; even small gestures are appreciated. Telling someone what you admire about them may also boost your mood.

5. Get enough rest
People who do not get enough sleep face a number of possible risks, including weight gain, decreased memory, impaired driving, and other health problems. To create restful nights, avoid drinking caffeine six to eight hours before bed, and finish any next-day preparations an hour before bed. If you cannot fall asleep after 15 minutes, avoid frustration by getting up until you feel more tired.

6. Call your Student Assistance Program
Talk One-2-One, your Student Assistance Program, is available 24/7 to help you with any life challenge that you may be facing.