Dr. Adam Kaplin’s ABC’s for Good Mental and Emotional Health

A = Ask for Assistance

  • Knowing when and how to ask for help is far more important than knowing how to silently endure being in pain. It actually takes more strength to request a helping hand.
  • Asking for help gives others the chance to feel good about helping.
  • All of us together are smarter than any one of us alone.
  • Be mindful of the need to check in with your support system and be proactive.

B = Breaks

  • Give yourself a break from worry. These are not normal circumstances and you should not expect yourself to always behave normally.
  • Take a break to breathe. Notice how you feel. Be grateful for the good things, and stay grounded in the present when problem-solving.

C = Communicate

  • Social isolation & quarantine is like being in a life raft together with your loved ones.
  • Communicate directly; don’t assume others know what you are thinking or feeling.
  • What isn’t said is still communicated, but you don’t know what it is the other person is hearing.

D = Don’t Do Things that will Make the Situation Worse

  • Don’t self-medicate with alcohol or drugs.
  • Don’t take your frustration out on others.
  • Don’t watch too much news, particularly alarmist news.
  • If you wouldn’t do it pre- and post-COVID, don’t do it now.

E = Exercise, Eat, and Sleep

  • Routine is the way you keep yourself steady in unpredictable times.
  • Taking care of yourself through moderate exercise, eating good foods, and
    getting enough quality sleep, will minimize any unexpected health issues.

F = Find Your Purpose in Life

  • As described earlier, having a strong Purpose in Life can provide a number of physical, mental, and emotional benefits. This is good advice to follow!
  • Need help in finding your purpose? Go to psychologytoday.com and search for “purpose in life.”
  • A blog post on the Psychology Today website gives five tips for finding purpose:
    • Step 1: Find out what drives you.
    • Step 2: Find out what energizes you.
    • Step 3: Find out what you are willing to sacrifice for.
    • Step 4: Find out whom you want to help.
    • Step 5: Find out how you want to help.
  • For more details, please see the following blog post: “Five Steps to Finding Your Life Purpose.” Psychology Today. Written by Tchiki Davis, PhD and posted on December 12, 2017.
  • You will find that by helping others, you are also helping yourself!

G = Gratitude

  • Find something to be grateful for every day.
  • You will often find that you are grateful for other people, and recognizing this will bring you closer to them.

H = Have Fun!

  • Spend time doing things you enjoy!
  • Losing yourself in a fun activity provides many health benefits and can help relieve stress.

I = Identify Quick Resources for Wellness

  • Having a mental-health crisis or feel you just need to talk to someone? Crisis Text Line (CTL) is a 24/7 free service where you can connect via text with a live, trained Crisis Counselor anytime for confidential and personal discussions. Text HOME to 741741 to start.
  • A great number of apps are available to promote mental wellness. Many are free and others have fairly low costs – but always check in advance to be sure you know what you are accessing and what the cost will be. Some popular free apps, as listed by PsyCom, include:
    • MoodTools: Designed to support people with clinical depression by aiding the path to recovery. 
    • MindShift: Designed specifically for teens and young adults with anxiety.
    • Self-Help for Anxiety Management (SAM): Self-help if meditation “isn’t your thing.”
    • Quit That! Helps users beat their habits or addictions.
    • eMoods: A mood-tracking app designed specifically for people with bipolar disorder. 
    • Happify: This mood-training program is your fast-track to a good mood.
    • Recovery Record: App for anyone recovering from an eating disorder and wanting to develop
      a more positive body image.

For more apps, please see “Top 25 Mental Health Apps: An Effective Alternative for When You Can’t Afford Therapy?” written by Jessica Truschel.

For general information or to speak with a trained Client Services Specialist, please call MSAA’s Helpline at (800) 532-7667, extension 154. Questions to MSAA’s Client Services department may also be emailed to MSquestions@mymsaa.org.

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