October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. For this month, our Blue Hills team wants to make sure we talk about how important it is to get help for mental health issues early on. This is one of the best ways to prevent substance abuse

Mental health doesn’t just refer to whether you have a mental health condition or not. There is much more to it than that. It involves your overall psychological well-being – relationship quality, how you feel and think about yourself, your ability to manage emotions and much more. 

Mental health issues can affect anyone from children to senior citizens. Most of us, at some point during our life, will experience some mental health issues such as temporary depression, high anxiety levels and increased stress. Others might experience PTSD or generalized anxiety disorder or even psychosis. 

With this being said, there are many great tips that can help you to better manage and treat any mental health issues you may be experiencing. 

Making Better Social Connections 

If you want to prevent substance abuse by improving the state of your mental health, it is vital that you make better social connections. Have you ever heard you are the sum of the 5 people you hang around the most? Think about this for a moment. Who do you spend most of your time with? Are they abusing alcohol and drugs or are they sober? Do they find the positive side of life or are they always negative or grouchy about something? The healthier and more positive people are in your life, the more energy and joy you are going to have in your life. So, start making better social connections today. 

Become More Active During National Substance Abuse Prevention Month

Another tip that can help you to prevent substance abuse and mental health issues during National Substance Abuse Prevention Month is to become more active. Studies show that physical and mental activity is good for the brain, body, heart and soul. 

When it comes to preventing addiction and mental health-related symptoms, some of the best ways to become more active include:

  • Doing puzzles
  • Practicing memorizing various things
  • Reading newspapers or books
  • Going on daily walks or runs 
  • Hiking 
  • Swimming 
  • Playing sports
  • Hanging out with friends and family members

If you start implementing these physical and mental health activities into your life, you will have a much lower risk of developing an addiction. 

Speaking to Someone Who Cares About You

Think about your life right now – who is part of your support network? Is it your mom, siblings, aunts, grandparents, friends, etc.? Make a list of the people who you trust and keep their phone numbers and addresses handy. That way, whenever you need to improve your mental health, you can speak to someone who cares about you and your well-being. By doing this, you are significantly reducing the chances that you will use drugs and/or alcohol to cope with your feelings. 

Using All Your Senses

Did you know that using your senses can actually help improve your mental health? So, if you are dealing with high stress, anxiety, PTSD or any other mental health-related issues, some of the things you can do to make things better include:

  • Listening to your favorite music
  • Squeezing a sensory ball
  • Get outside and enjoy the sights of your community
  • Listen to the sounds of the outdoors
  • Taste a dessert or a new food
  • Smell flowers or other plants

By activating all your senses and being aware of your surroundings, you can greatly improve the state of your mental health. Research shows that people who are more mindful of their senses have fewer mental health and substance abuse issues than those who aren’t mindful of their environment. 

Doing Something Relaxing Every Day

If you are struggling with your mental health, one of the things you should do is to add relaxation to your days. Research shows that people who find even 5 to 10 minutes of time to relax daily have much better overall mental health. The good news is there are some quick, easy ways to do something relaxing every day, including:

  • Practicing yoga
  • Doing meditation videos
  • Deep breathing practices
  • Going on a walk
  • Practicing mindfulness/awareness
  • Talking to a friend or loved one
  • Taking a nap
  • Taking a hot shower
  • Reading a book 

It might be helpful for you to use a journal and make a list of things that are relaxing for you. That way, you can choose one of those activities every day to add to your schedule. Do this for even a few days and see how much better it makes you feel.

Eating a Healthier Diet 

Studies have also shown that there are certain foods that can boost mental health. Some of these foods include:

  • Brussel sprouts
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Avocados
  • Beans
  • Peanuts
  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Blueberries
  • Salmon

You don’t necessarily have to plan to add these foods into your diet. Even if you do your best to eat healthier and choose these foods over other options sometimes, that is going to be beneficial to both your mental, physical and emotional health. 

Proper Sleep Routine

When it comes to your mental health, proper sleep matters much more than you might think. During sleep, the mind and body are recharging. They are taking a break from all the stimulation that happens during the day from socializing, computers, tablets, televisions, the environment and more. 

Are you experiencing mental health symptoms? Do you have cravings for alcohol and/or drugs because of your mental health issues? If you answered yes to either question, developing a proper sleep routine is key to reducing these issues. If you have trouble falling asleep, it might help to get blackout curtains, listen to rain sounds or choose a relaxing music station to listen to at night. 

Finding Your Purpose in Life

Do you have a lot of anxiety or fear relating to your purpose in life? Maybe, you are just unsure of what you want to do or who you are meant to be. This can be a difficult topic to discuss as everyone has different beliefs. However, there is one thing for certain and that is we all have a purpose in life – it just may take some time to find it and it may change over time, too. 

Some of the ways you can find your purpose in life include:

  • Doing work that makes you feel helpful
  • Spending quality time with your friends and family members
  • Volunteering, so that you can help others
  • Do at least one good deed a day

It doesn’t take long to do most of these activities. However, the results when these activities are done have a tendency to be outstanding. 

If You Need Mental Health and Addiction Help, We’re Here

Are you dealing with symptoms of mental health conditions such as anxiety, high stress, post-traumatic stress, depression, etc.? Are you worried these issues are going to cause you to abuse drugs and/or alcohol? If you answered yes or even if you already have a substance abuse issue due to the state of your mental health, our Blue Hills team wants to help you overcome it all starting today.

Give Blue Hills Recovery a call at (508) 403-7877 to get the mental health and addiction help you need, today.

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