Milton Hershey School Psychologist Provides Mental Health Tips for Community
Featuring Allison Carrier, Milton Hershey School Psychologist
This Sunday, Oct. 10, is World Mental Health Day and this year’s theme is “Mental Health Care for All: Let’s Make It a Reality.” We’ve all been through a tough year and may be feeling like the stressors around us have no end in sight. While we likely have some challenges and uncertainty about when they will subside, the good news is there are always things that we can control to improve our mental wellbeing.
Here are a few tips that you can try right now.
Know you are resilient.
People tend to underestimate how resilient they really are. In fact, our brains are quite amazing at adapting to changes to help us come out ahead. Yes, there are very significant challenges to be faced right now, and we have already faced plenty of others. In times of stress, it can be helpful to remember that you have already tackled several challenges in your life and that the ones you are facing today will someday become memories as well.
This doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy or that you won’t have to face some tough emotions, but knowing that at some point you will come out on the other side can help you to ride the wave of emotions that you are facing.
Remember that emotions and situations are temporary.
We have all experienced times of profound joy and profound sadness—and everything in between. Recognizing that emotions, good or bad, are temporary can help us to accept and experience them, without allowing ourselves to be driven by them. By allowing ourselves to experience our emotions, we are embracing one of the key parts of being alive and being human. Accepting what we are feeling instead of fighting it can help us move through our emotions and see that over time they will naturally ebb and flow.
Experience the moment.
When we pull back and look at where we are in any given moment, we can contain negative experiences a bit better and not let them seep into our every thought. Mindfulness and meditation are two great ways to stay present and take some space from our stressors. Just a few minutes of mindful breathing and focused attention each day can promote feelings of happiness and prepare us to better handle the obligations in front of us.
Take time for gratitude.
When we are at our lowest or our busiest, it can seem counterintuitive to think about what we are thankful for in our lives. Don’t fall into this mindset. Recognizing and expressing gratitude is one of the most effective ways to feel happier and get perspective when things are tough.
Taking time each day to write down just three things you are grateful for has been shown to improve mood, life satisfaction, resiliency, physical health, relationships, and job satisfaction.
Connect with others.
Humans are social beings. We feel good when we feel connected. One of the hardest things about the pandemic was the isolation that many people experienced. Now that you may be able to connect with others more directly, make the time to do so. In addition to spending time with friends and family, you can also get a happiness boost by helping others or volunteering to support those in need. We do well when we do good.
As many people are learning, professional counseling support can not only support you through a crisis but can also help you to make small (or big) changes to better balance your life, manage your emotions, and boost your natural resilience. Here at MHS, we provide for the daily needs of all students including psychological services.
Our complete mental health services include:
- Single-student and group therapy
- Medication management
- Crisis intervention