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How Can I Keep Mentally Healthy?

Top 10 Things I Need to Know About Mental Health and Addictions

Struggling with your mental health or addiction can be a challenge. However, there are things you can do to feel better and to help you make positive changes, each and every day. 

o Write it down - Keeping a journal or a blog is a great way to get your feelings out and help to reduce stress. 

o Power in numbers - Sharing a problem with others who have had similar experiences may help you find a solution and will make you feel less isolated. 

o Get enough sleep - To have good mental and emotional health, it’s important to take care of your body. That includes getting enough sleep. Most youth need at least eight hours of sleep each night in order to be at their best.

o Feed your body well - The more you learn about what you eat and how it affects your energy and mood, the better you can feel. 

o Exercise to relieve stress and lift your mood - Exercise is a powerful way to handle stress, anxiety and depression. Look for small ways to add activity to your day, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going for a short walk. To get the most mental health benefits, aim for 30 to 60 minutes or more of exercise per day. 

o Let the sun shine in - Sunlight lifts your mood, so try to get at least 10 to 15 minutes of sun per day. This can be done while exercising, gardening or hanging out with friends. 

o Limit alcohol and avoid cigarettes and other drugs - These are chemicals that may make you feel good in the short-term, but have long-term negative consequences for mood, emotional health and brain development.

o Lend a helping hand - Being useful to others and being valued for what you do can help build self-esteem and good mental health.

o Appeal to your senses - Stay calm and energized by appealing to the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. Listen to music that lifts your mood, place flowers where you will see and smell them, massage your hands and feet, or sip a warm drink. 

o Get creative - Do something creative. Make yourself feel productive. Try things like gardening, drawing, writing, playing an instrument, make a short video or building something in your workshop. 

o Get a pet - Yes. Pets are a responsibility, but caring for one makes you feel needed and loved. There is no love quite as unconditional as the love a pet can give. Animals can also get you out of the house for exercise. 

o Have fun - Do things just because it feels good to do them. Go to a funny movie, take a walk on the beach, listen to music, read a good book, or talk to a friend. Doing things just because they are fun is really important. Play is important for our well-being. 

o Stop and think - Think about the things you’re grateful for. Meditate, pray, enjoy the sunset, or simply take a moment to pay attention to what is good, positive and beautiful as you go about your day.