No matter what time of the year it is, we are all busy and whether we realize it, there is a lot of stress in our lives. How many of us really take time out of our busy lives to focus on creating a healthy balance and positive mental health?

The Marshall High School leadership class organized a run/walk June 1 at Fireman’s Park to create an awareness of physical and mental health. This was a time for people to take time to concentrate on feeling good inside and out. We should continue to focus on it every day.

There is a link between mental and physical health. Just walking or moving about once an hour can increase one’s productivity and mind set to be more productive during the day. While lately, there is a lot of awareness on mental illness, just creating an optimal level of mental health is also very important. By having this high awareness of mental health, one can realize his or her full potential, be more productive at work, volunteer engagements or even with chores and tasks around the house and make meaningful contributions in the community.

If one feels good about his or her life, he or she will be more likely to help others by organizing food drives, events to the community or to help others.

There is a correlation between having good mental health and diseases. According to the Mental Health Foundation, people who have the highest levels of self-rated distress were 32% more likely to die from cancer while depression is related with an increased risk of coronary heart disease.

There are many ways to increase one’s mental health.

First, it is important to minimize environments that are negative. Sometimes even listening to the news or going online can be negative if there are news stories that are disheartening to hear or if celebrity gossip is negative. Paying attention to one’s environment is important and placing oneself in a positive environment can improve one’s mental health.

Other ways to improve mental health is connecting to others and find different ways to meet others. For instance, attending the Farmers’ Market in Marshall Sundays from 8 a.m. to noon or the concerts at Waterloo Firemen’s Park every last Thursday night of the month in the summer. Watching a recreational baseball game, attending a summer brat cookout or attending library programs are a few ways to connect with others.

Life will present us with many challenges. When there are setbacks, there are ways we can take those setbacks and make opportunities or learning experiences. If someone gives us criticism, think of ways to take this into feedback to do better. If we are really full of stress, we can talk to others and most likely, others are feeling the same way.

Taking care of one’s mental health by getting enough sleep, being physically active, eating healthy or taking short breaks during the day for a quick walk or just to meditate can go a long way.

Summer can be a great time to improve on mental health. Taking summer walks, playing on a recreational league or doing fun activities with families and friends are great ways to be active. Having good mental health, can improve many aspects of your life.

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