Several people do relaxing activities in a beautiful park, such as yoga, painting, and birdwatching. Above them reads "Mental Health Month 2020"

Mental Health Month 2020: Not Just In Your Head

For a long time, we said mental health happens in the mind and the body is just along for the ride. People who’ve experienced stress, anxiety, depression, or even minor emotional challenges know this isn’t the case. There are lots of ways our environment affects how we think and feel, both mentally and physically.

A butterfly with a peaceful smile fluttering outdoors.

Affecting mental health from the outside in

For Mental Health Month 2020, we're working on mental and physical health together from the outside in. Over the next few weeks, consider how you feed your body and mind. Here are a few ideas to get started...

Take a hike:

Okay, the hiking part might not be possible for everyone, but research is increasingly finding links between physical and mental health and nature. Spending time in nature can take any form you choose from houseplants to a view from your window to a long dose of time in the garden. Just get outside of manmade environments and spend time among the trees.

Have a laugh:

Either the comedy industry has a stranglehold on medical research, or laughter is actually good for you! Research has found connections between laughter and breathing, blood circulation, stress response, the immune system, pain tolerance, and cognitive function. Find what makes you laugh and do more of it.

Make something:

"But I'm not creative!" Well, it doesn't have to be pretty. It's the act of creating itself that's important, whether with hands or feet, voice or words, even just in your head. Building something from nothing is a reminder that you can influence the world and bring something new into it.

Talk about it:

Saying or writing your thoughts out can take them out of your mind and into the real world where you can look at them more objectively. See what this community is saying about mental health:

What hobbies and activities help your mental and/or physical health? Answer in the comments!

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