It is Mental Health Awareness Month. It is important to focus on mental health for serval reasons. One reason is that mental health can manifest in our physical health. Mental health also impacts our relationships with others and how well we communicate. With these things in mind, it is easy to understand why we need to be aware of our mental health.

Although I am not a therapist, I have come to understand that something as simple as a three-step strategy can make a big difference as it relates to stress. Here is a three-step strategy that has helped me. As a prelude, nothing takes the place of a licensed therapist or medication. Furthermore, severe mental health issues always warrant professional help.

When dealing with minor, day-to-day stress I have found the following to work:

Think — Stop and focus on what is stressing you out. As easy as this sounds, we go through life on autopilot, and even though we feel stressed we may not take the time to slow down and think about what is causing the stress.

Act — Take steps to reduce the stress if possible. Maybe you need to rearrange your schedule. In many cases, we take on too many responsibilities because we simply hate to tell others “no.” Whatever the case may be, decide what steps you can reasonably take to reduce stress.

Reflect — Hopefully, the steps listed above have helped your situation. If so, reflect. What can you do to avoid being in a similar situation anytime soon?

If you are still having issues, reach out to a mental health professional. Again, nothing takes the place of a licensed therapist or medication. This county is blessed to have several mental health professionals. For assistance, call 211—and ask to be connected to a mental health professional.

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