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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