This month, mental health awareness month, we hope you will remember that it’s okay not to be okay. There is a lot going on across the world and close to home that can have a negative impact on our mental health and well-being.

As we have mentioned before, YOU have a lot of strengths – 24 character strengths – to manage life’s ups and downs, build your optimism and support you as you face challenges. The VIA Institute on Character Strengths offers a free survey to help you better understand your own strengths. We encourage you to take the survey and embrace the strengths that you can turn to anytime you need them. The VIA Institute on Character shares the following findings on using your strengths:

A graphic listing the benefits of using your strengths as: leads to long-term increases in happiness, is connected with long-term decreases in depression, can act as a buffer protecting you from anxiety and depression, is connected with better psychological well-being, and leads to improved mood the next day, and an image of man laughing.

Research shows that using a strength in a new way can increase your well-being. Here are a few examples:

  1. Address a challenge you are facing by using your strength of judgement to see the point of view of someone who thinks differently than me.
    Judgement — “I weigh all aspects objectively in making decisions, including arguments that are in conflict with my convictions.”
  2. Take a fifteen minute walk in your neighborhood or sit outside for fifteen minutes and tap into your strength of curiosity by walking a different route, focusing on something you haven’t explored before like the sounds of nature, or simply watching the clouds.
    Curiosity – “I seek out situations where I gain new experiences without getting in my own or other people’s way.”
  3. Tap into your strength of bravery by doing something that makes you nervous, even if it is as simple as reaching out to make a friend, joining a new group, or applying for a job.
    Bravery – “I act on my convictions, and I face threats, challenges, difficulties, and pains, despite my doubts and fears.”
  4. Use your Use your strength of self-regulation to limit your consumption of media or other things that increase your stress. There are endless ways to take a mental break through work, connection, housework, hobbies, and (often used) the internet.
    Self-regulation – “I manage my feelings and actions and am disciplined and self-controlled.”
  5. Bring a moment of joy into your life by using your strength of humor to remember a funny moment, tell yourself a few jokes, or bringing some lightheartedness to a challenging conversation.
    Humor – “I approach life playfully, making others laugh, and finding humor in difficult and stressful times.”

Don’t forget to reach out if you need additional support – call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach Mental Health America’s 24-hour crisis center, or text MHA to 741741 at the Crisis Text Line.

We are all in this together.

– National Disability Institute

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