Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Seeing the Light on Mental Health

Photography is more than a just hobby in my life; it is one of my best stress relievers. Even if a photo excursion is really challenging or frustrating, it is never a stressful activity. Often, when I'm feeling the most stressed, I find opportunities to address my mental health and emotional wellbeing by discovering new places or revisiting favorite locations and capturing them on film.

Everyone needs a method to reduce life's stress and bring back balance to your body and mind. Whether through exercise, meditation, yoga and/or other hobbies, such as knitting or even blogging, we all need a vehicle to release tension and unhealthy strain. When those usual activities aren't enough, then it is important to find a professional like a psychologist or therapist to help you work through those destructive situations and restore a healthier life balance again.

Today, bloggers around the country are talking about the importance of mental health. Like them, I agree that mental health check-ups should be as routine as physicals or visits to the dentist. Here are some startling facts about stress and mental health in America:
  • One in four Americans experiences a mental health disorder every year, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health.
  • Chronic stress can affect both our physical and psychological well-being by causing a variety of problems including anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system.
  • A 2009 poll by the American Psychological Association found that 75 percent of adults report experiencing moderate to high levels of stress (24 percent extreme, 51 percent moderate) and nearly half report that their stress has increased in the past year (42 percent).
  • A 2008 survey by Harris Interactive and the American Psychological Association found that 25 percent of Americans report they do not have adequate access to mental health services and 44 percent either do not have mental health coverage or are not sure if they do.
  • Research recently published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior (Vol. 41, No. 2) finds that 68 percent of Americans do not want someone with a mental illness marrying into their family and 58 percent do not want people with mental illness in their workplaces.
So, what does this all mean? Bottom-line: our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors affect our lives. Maintaining good mental health helps us make better decisions and deal with daily stress more effectively and efficiently. Seeking help, especially when life feels out of control, is not only ok, but the best way to help yourself and those around you live a healthier mind-body life.

To improve your mind-body health, visit Your Mind Your Body blog by the American Psychological Association for more mental health ideas and resources.

No comments:

Post a Comment