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May is Mental Health Awareness Month - Here are 4 Easy Activities You Can Do To Support Your Mental Health - by Dr. Amanda Aster-McKenna, Psy.D. - Licensed Psychologist in Montclair, NJ



May is National Mental Health Awareness Month

Hello there readers! I hope you are all having a fabulous start to your May. As some of you May know, May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. The focus of this important and meaningful initiative is geared toward raising awareness of mental health conditions; destigmatizing mental health conditions; advocating for mental health policies; and opening up the lines of communication that mental health is essential to our physical and emotional well-being.


4 Easy Activities to Support Your Mental Health

For this reason and this cause, the body of this month’s newsletter is geared towards offering resources to support your own mental health. Each of the mental health activities listed below have been shown to be particularly helpful for those who may be struggling with depression and anxiety, as well increasing focus and concentration, total well-being, and feelings of positivity and vitality. The list below can be practiced both individually and as a group. 


1. Mindfulness: this practice involves paying attention to the present moment, on purpose, with intention, and without judgment. Practices can include guided meditations, body scan, mindful eating, mindfulness of everyday tasks, and mindful walking. Check out the smart phone app Insight Timer or Calm to experience a guided meditation for yourself today!





2. Gratitude Journaling: an excellent way to begin your day with a grateful heart and appreciative mind. For this exercise, you are asked to write down three things you are thankful for before you start your day. Feel free to use simple phrases, words, or even symbols/artwork to describe who and what you are grateful for.





3. Outdoor Mental Wellness Activities: this can be anything and everything that is done mindfully outside! Hiking, taking a walk, observing nature, observing animals out in nature, listening to the ocean waves, feeling your toes in the sand, gardening, running, etc.





4. Music Therapy: this practice entails you listening to your favorite genre of music,  your favorite artist(s), your favorite song, singing, playing instruments, watching and observing another musician engage in their craft. One of the many benefits of music therapy is that it can help individuals express themselves in ways that might be difficult to express through words alone.





Can you think of another mental health activity not listed that would be in the service of promoting well-being, feelings of positivity, focus and concentration, and an overall sense of groundedness? 


Try it out!

I encourage you to make the commitment to engage in one (or more) mental health activity(ies) at least once per day for the entire month of May. You might think about taking a before and after snapshot of your total sense of well-being on a scale from 0-10, where 10 would mean you are feeling your optimal best, and 0 would mean you are feeling stuck in place, crippled by anxiety/stress/depression, etc.


If you would like to sign up for my monthly newsletter, please email DrAmandaAster@gmail.com  to be added to the mailing list.

 

Peace, Love, & Fierce Acceptance

Dr. Amanda Aster-McKenna, Psy.D.

(She/Her/Hers)

NJ Licensed Psychologist #5888, Private Practice, Montclair, NJ

Adjunct Professor, Kean University, Department of Advanced Studies in Psychology

Board Member, Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris

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