New Year’s resolutions pop up this time of year and inspire us to impact our lives or the community around us. We pledge to improve our physical appearance, adopt healthier habits, or strengthen the relationships in our lives, but how often do those plans specifically involve our mental health?
In California, 1 in 6 adults has a mental health need and approximately 1 in 25 lives with a serious mental illness that makes it difficult to carry out major life activities. Mental health concerns range in their severity and duration and can affect a person’s ability to function, depending on the seriousness of the issue. Mental health conditions do not discriminate across ethnicities or economic status, and with a healthy mental outlook, we can easily break down any barriers that keep us from achieving our more tangible goals throughout the year.
Benjamin Corbett, a case manager and Associate Marriage and Family Therapist (AMFT) at our Youth & Family Services branch, has 3 quick tips we can all use any time we need to improve our mood:
- Take part in positive experiences: Engage in activities you enjoy each day to increase your overall positive emotions and reduce stress. When you take part in positive experiences, you generate positive emotions! It also functions as an emotional savings account, when things get tough you have some positive experiences to draw on and help you through.
- Stay physically healthy: By eating a balanced diet, going to the doctor when we’re sick, and getting enough sleep, we are less vulnerable when we encounter negative feelings. Physical activity is also crucial, since research has shown that exercise increases the blood circulating to the brain, which affects body chemistry in a way that reduces stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Practice mindfulness: Being mindful, or staying aware in the present moment, allows us to make conscious decisions to take care of ourselves and our mental health. Taking a mindful approach to life helps us pay attention to our mood and understand when we may need some extra help, need to manage stress or anger, or recognize that we are feeling good and enjoying a particular moment.
For more specific support, we offer counseling for couples, individuals, families, and students and behavior support for young children and parents. At YMCA Community Support Services, we work to ensure that all people can access behavioral health, psychiatric support, and mental health treatment regardless of their ability to pay.
With a gym in almost every community in San Diego, and a dedicated staff of trained mental health professionals, the YMCA is uniquely positioned to meet the physical and mental health needs of all San Diegans. Are you ready to have your healthiest year yet? We’re ready to help you get there – mind, body, and spirit.
 California Health Care Foundation, “Mental Health in California: California Health Care Almanac Quick Reference Guide, March 2018.” Retried from https://www.chcf.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/MentalHealthCA2018QRG.pdf on January 7, 2019.
 Sharma, Ashish, Vishal Madaan, and Frederick D. Petty. “Exercise for Mental Health.” Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 8.2 (2006): 106. Print.