CHARLOTTE – HopeWay is encouraging people to make their mental health and emotional wellness a priority in honor of Emotional Wellness Month in October and World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10.

HopeWay is an accredited nonprofit mental health residential and day treatment center for adults.

“As mental health conditions continue to rise, it is important for people to understand how they can support their own mental and emotional health through simple daily activities. It is often a misconception that someone has to have certain resources, like money or extra time, to engage in mental wellness,” said Tom Gettelman, chief clinical officer and admissions director. “However, there are many resources right at our finger tips that are instrumental in supporting mental wellness, and each of these activities are backed by scientific research proving the benefit and effectiveness.”

HopeWay offers six tips that anyone can do anywhere to support or bolster their mental health:

1. Stand in the sun. Vitamin D plays a vital role in many aspects of human health, and studies have shown a correlation between lack of vitamin D and symptoms of depression.

2. Use your breath. Regulating your breath through different breathing techniques helps decrease blood pressure and feelings of anxiety.

3. Engage in a creative activity. According to research, engaging in a creative activity – such as drawing or doodling, dancing to your favorite playlist or playing an instrument – increases dopamine (the feel-good brain chemical).

4. Practice Gratitude. Write down one thing each day you are grateful for. Studies have found that giving thanks and recognizing good fortune can help people sleep better, lower stress and improve interpersonal relationships.

5. Cry. Research shows that crying releases toxins, helps regulate our emotions and helps relieve physical and emotional pain through the release of endorphins.

6. Acknowledge your true feelings. While negative emotions are not pleasant, studies show that “emotional acceptance” is better for overall health and through acceptance we can actually learn from the emotion rather than using unnecessary energy pushing it away.

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