Four steps to improve your mental health
GEHA | May 20, 2022
An estimated 52.9 million adults ages 18 and older in the United States have a mental, behavior or emotional disorder. Recent studies also show that young adults ages 18-25 battle mental illness more than any other age group. As more Americans navigate difficult situations in their lives, it’s important to self-reflect and monitor how you’re thinking and feeling. If you or a loved one struggle with mental health, here are four steps you can take to keep your mind healthy.
- Connect with others
- Stay active
- Eat healthy
- Practice gratitude
Many of us have become accustomed to working at home and avoiding large gatherings due to COVID-19. However, connecting with others plays a role in improving your mental health. Make an effort to stay in touch with your family and friends, no matter how busy you get. You can also volunteer in your community or get more involved in your favorite hobby. You’ll probably notice that socializing with others helps reduce your feelings of stress and anxiety.
Studies show that exercise can eliminate anxiety, stress and depression. Getting active can improve your cognitive function and self-esteem. Try taking a walk over your lunch break, signing up for an online or in-person exercise class or helping your child practice their favorite sport. Don’t be afraid to start slow, because small amounts of exercise add up. Take note of your mood after you exercise. Chances are you will quickly notice a change.
Eating healthier foods can make you feel better overall and improve your mood.. Low levels of Omega-3 fatty acids have been associated with depression and impulsivity. Try incorporating foods like fish, nuts, flaxseed and leafy green vegetables to increase your Omega-3 fatty acid intake. Studies also show that there is a link between low levels of vitamin B-12 and depression. To keep your B-12 levels up, incorporate lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs and low-fat milk into your diet.
Remind yourself of what you are grateful for in your life. When things go wrong, it’s easy to let the negative thoughts overpower your mood. Take time to reflect on the positive things in your life. Write them down every day or replay them in your mind. Making note of the things you are grateful for in a place that you see every day can help you stay positive, even on your toughest days.
How to get help
GEHA medical members have access to MDLIVE's telehealth visits, including behavioral health therapists, who are available via secure video by appointment during normal business hours.
MDLIVE is designed to handle non-emergent medical conditions and behavioral health issues and can often substitute for a doctor’s office visit. Telemedicine is not intended to replace your primary care doctor or to be used in life-threatening emergencies. Find more information or activate your account, or call 888.912.1183.
If you or someone you know is having a mental health crisis, call your or your loved one’s health care professional or 9-1-1. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 24 hours a day, toll free, at 1.800.273.TALK (1.800.273.8255).
This is a brief description of the features of Government Employees Health Association, Inc.'s medical plans. Before making a final decision, please read the GEHA Federal brochures which are available at geha.com/PlanBrochure. All benefits are subject to the definitions, limitations, and exclusions set forth in the Federal brochure.
HDHP members who have met their deductible will be charged by MDLIVE, but GEHA will reimburse the member 100% of the Plan Allowance.
“Boost your Mood with Healthier Food.” Heart.org, American Heart Association, 29 July, 2021.
“Caring for Your Mental Health.” Nimh.nih.gov, National Institute of Mental Health, April 2021.
“How to Improve Mental Health.” Medlineplus.gov, MedlinePlus, 5 May, 2020.
“Mental illness.” Nimh.nih.gov, National Institute of Mental Health, January 2022.
The information contained herein is for informational and educational purposes only. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice and if you have questions regarding a medical condition, regimen, or treatment you should always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice from a qualified medical professional because of information you have read herein.