May is Mental Health Month 2020 with green ribbon

I didn’t know what today was, either . . . until I was informed, by the fount of wisdom and kindness and all-American charm B.K., that today is the first day of Mental Health Month!

According to the nonprofit organization Mental Health America, “1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime.” Moreover, “everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health.”

This is about all of us! Let’s get rid of the stigma and face our fears! If you’re looking for an awesome resource about Mental Health Month, click the Download button on this Mental Health Month page by Mental Health America. You can then get free access to a 27-page resource that’s super impressive in its comprehensiveness. It contains a wide variety of resources to help you this month, such as these:

  • Images and ideas for using social media to spread the word about #MentalHealthMonth
  • Worksheets for helping you work through your own mental health issues
  • Ideas for getting through these tough times of coronavirus and social distancing
  • Facts and statistics, plus ideas for talking to others about mental health to spread awareness

I’ve personally been working incredibly, insanely hard to keep my mental health in check this week. Due to the stress of experiencing another concussion setback, I’ve been experiencing a flareup of my old muscle tension issues. And I’m maxed out on drugs, so I need to fix this in other ways. But I’m finding that a hardcore combination of like seven different strategies, employed all day long, actually does resolve the issue. The strategies include things like meditation, breathing exercises, mental imagery, talking with loved ones, exercise and healthy eating, taking bubble baths, and general wisdom seeking and application, which often involves putting things into perspective.

So I’m doing OK. But as Loretta Graziano Breuning points out in her brilliant (and very small and easy to read!) book Habits of a Happy Brain, it takes 45 days to rewire your brain chemistry and create a new neural superhighway. If you miss a day, you have to go back to day 1. I missed a day a few days ago. Urgh. So I’m at day 3 of 45 in trying to form a new brain pathway that equals calm and collected.

Day 3 of 45. But not giving up. That’s the most important thing in mental health. Don’t give up! There’s always tomorrow. Always today. And always this present moment.

Here’s another gem from Graziano Breuning that explains why striving to get to day 45 is so important:

“When you don’t direct, your electricity flows down the path of least resistance.”

In other words, whatever habits you already have are etched into your brain. If you don’t strive to make changes, your brain will just automatically do what it’s used to doing. If those habits are conducive to happiness, lucky you! But if your brain has not-so-great etchings—and many of these were formed during childhood, which was loooooong ago for many of us—then your brain will continue to work against you, unless you strive to form different pathways. And it takes, yeah, more than 6 weeks of daily work.

I can’t recommend Habits of a Happy Brain highly enough. Here are the brain chemicals Graziano Breuning covers in the book:

It’s amazing but true: Understanding how brain chemicals work can help you understand why your life feels screwed up and how to fix it.

So keep up the good work. And spread the word about Mental Health Month! #MentalHealthMonth

How are you working on your mental health during these crazy coronavirus times? Can you help to spread mental health awareness?