Healthy Living: April 30, 2019

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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Good Mental Health is Not Once and Done:
We may wish that developing good mental health is a once and done: something stressful comes up, we handle it, we learn something about ourselves, and our mental health is improved for all time. Yet, like many things, developing good mental health and resilience to stress is best done a little bit each day. Just as chronic stress wears down our minds and bodies over time, taking a few minutes a day to care for your mental health will help you feel better and give you additional emotional strength for those moments when things get tough.

30-Day Mental Health Challenge:
Psychologist Dr. Helen Coons recently worked with feature writer Caroline Picard to develop a 30-Day Mental Health Challenge. Like other challenges, it focuses on one small thing you can do each day to improve your mental health and resilience to stress.

So, with the month of May about to begin, why not try these ideas? They are easy, inexpensive, and effective. As you consider this, here are some tips:

• Don't think it's selfish: Improving your mental health helps you be more focused, have more emotional energy, and be more likely to help yourself and others. It benefits more than you.

• Tap a friend: When we share our goals, we do better. Telling two, three or four friends helps you get support and adds another level of accountability.

• If you miss a day, don't give up: One common pitfall is to miss a day and then quit. The goal isn't to be perfect – it is to change. Even if you just do 25 or 15 days, that's still an improvement from the previous month.

• Keep it up afterward: Most people find that there some mental health wellness activities fit them better than others. As you go through the month, note which challenges you enjoy the most, and which seem particularly helpful. These will be the easiest for you to make a part of your regular routine.

For More Information:
American Psychological Association: https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/index

How to do a 30-Day Mental Health Challenge: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/wellness/a26631446/30-day-mental-health-challenge/