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5 Small Steps to Take During Mental Health Awareness Month

    May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which means that the National Alliance on Mental Illness and countless organizations across the country are working to end the stigma around mental health issues. At a top-tier university, with midterms and papers piled high, it can be difficult to make mental health a priority. Furthermore, there is often a stigma around mental health issues, causing people to remain silent about their struggles. This stigma can be cured with empathy, compassion and understanding. So, while it is important that we pay attention to our mental health all year round, Mental Health Awareness Month is a great opportunity to take some smaller steps to improving your mental health. Here are some actions that you can take to improve your mental health and #CureStigma.

1. Start a conversation

This one may seem self-explanatory, but sometimes it is all too easy to succumb to the stigma around mental health issues and remain quiet. Everybody is going through their own personal struggles, and there is no benefit in hiding them. Seek out a trusted friend or family member, or go to a campus resource.

 

2. Take a social media break

Social media platforms are full of unrealistic standards of beauty and achievement. That is because people choose only to share their best moments. Have you ever seen somebody Instagram about a failed test or a really bad day? Cut out social media completely for the month or vow to limit your use. You’ll be thanking yourself later when you have more time to focus on in-person relationships and the real world around you.

3. Quiet your mind

Download a guided meditation app, try mindfulness or take up yoga. It may seem minor, but even a few moments of “me time” a day can help you feel calmer and more centered during a busy week. It doesn’t have to be long session – even just a few minutes of quiet will leave you feeling more ready to take on the day’s next activity.

4. Track your gratitude

Start a journal and end each day writing three things you are thankful for or the best parts of your day. It takes only a minute or two, but thinking about the good in your life is a huge mood booster and a great reminder that there is a positive moment even on the crappiest day.

5. Laugh

Laughter helps to reduce anxiety, and there is nothing better than a good chuckle. Take a break from homework to watch a silly YouTube video or have a chat with your funniest friend. You’ll be feeling calmer in no time.

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