Even before the COVID pandemic, Hoosiers were facing a mental health crisis, quickly rising in rankings to 45th out of 50 states for prevalence of mental health problems and access to quality care, according to Mental Health America. 

Layer in the global health pandemic, economic impact, corporate downsizing, new work from home environments, homeschooling, and disruption to normal schedules, and it’s no surprise that stress, anxiety, and depression are on the top of everyone’s minds, including the American Heart Association’s. 

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices.

When people are stressed, anxious or depressed, they may feel overwhelmed, so they’re not apt to make healthy lifestyle choices. They may be more likely to smoke more, not be physically active, sleep too little or too much, drink too much alcohol and fail to take their prescribed medications. Over time, these unhealthy behaviors can increase the risk for heart disease and other chronic illnesses.

It’s critical that all of us take care of our mental health. In addition to eating a healthy diet, being active and getting the right amount of sleep, people can use meditation or quiet time to relax and get rid of stress. They can also adopt an attitude of gratitude to shift their mindset of things going on around them.

As we continue to return to in-person environments, school, work and social activities, it’s normal to feel stressed or anxious, but how you manage your stress can have a bigger impact on your overall health than you know.  It starts with taking care of YOU and your families.  Talk about mental health, prioritize time for healthy activities such as taking family walks or cooking healthy meals together.  Your heart will thank you.

For additional resources please visit; Mental Health and Well-being | American Heart Association

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