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Practical steps toward a healthier mind

GEHA | March 7, 2024

Although mental health conditions are often stigmatized, they’re much more common than many people realize.

The term “mental health” embodies our emotional and psychological health. It determines how we think and feel, handle stress, relate to and communicate with others and how we make decisions. It even effects how we act not just toward others, but toward ourselves.

Although mental health conditions are often stigmatized, they’re much more common than many people realize. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one fifth of American adults have some type of mental illness. Globally, about 970 million people have a mental disorder, anxiety and depression being the most common, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

How to care for your mental health

Anything from a long day at work to certain chronic conditions can impact our mental health. No matter who you are, learning how to care for your mental health is integral to your overall well-being.

Caring for your mental health can improve mood, reduce anxiety, improve relationships, and lower risk for more serious health conditions. Take the first steps toward a healthy mind by implementing these worthwhile practices into your lifestyle:

  • Prioritize your sleep. Poor sleeping habits can lead to mood disorders, cognitive issues and greater risk of anxiety and depression.
  • Engage in daily exercise. Whether it’s taking a morning stroll or enrolling in a boxing class, physical activity can boost mood, confidence and self-esteem.
  • Be mindful of what you eat. Try to limit high-sugar, highly processed foods and focus on brain-healthy foods like berries, beans, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Reduce screentime and social media. Instead, replace that time with more meaningful activities like calling a friend or practicing a favorite hobby.
  • Spend time outside. Rain or shine, being outdoors can significantly improve our attitude. Open the windows, enjoy your front porch and try to get some fresh air every day.
  • Practice gratitude. Listing the things that you’re grateful for each day — a good haircut, a warm home, this morning’s coffee — can help improve your mindfulness, shift your mental state, help improve mindfulness and help you cope better with stress.
  • Nurture your relationships. The people in our lives have a huge impact on our well-being. Cultivating positive relationships can help reduce loneliness and ease emotional stress.
  • Seek new experiences. Learn a new skill, plan a weekend getaway or set a new goal for yourself. You may be surprised at your newfound sense of purpose and accomplishment.
  • Find support. Don’t be afraid to confront what you’re feeling, whether it’s depression, anxiety or something else. Learn how to recognize a mental health condition, and talk to a doctor if you need to. A health care professional can answer your questions, address any concerns and develop a care plan to help you feel better.
  • Know when to find help. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency, don't wait for help. Dial 988 for immediate emergency crisis counseling through the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. For more information or to chat with 988 online, visit

How can GEHA help?

GEHA medical members have access to MDLIVE's telehealth visits, including behavioral health therapists who are available via secure video chat by appointment during normal business hours.

MDLIVE is designed to handle non-emergency 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.

Need help finding an in-network health care provider? Visit the GEHA Find Care website.

HDHP members who have met their deductible will be charged my MDLIVE, but GEHA will reimburse the member 100% of the Plan Allowance.

Have you attended a webinar?

Every month, GEHA hosts a free webinar designed to offer ways to live a healthier life. Check out our upcoming offerings on aging gracefully, mindfulness and financial well-being. You can view past webinars, too.

View 2024 webinars

“About Mental Health.”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 April, 2023.
“Mental health.”, World Health Organization.

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.

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. All benefits are subject to the definitions, limitations and exclusions set forth in the Federal brochures.