Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Reyna from Dallas, TX. Reyna Wonders, “What is Mental Health and why is it important?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Reyna!

How are you feeling? We don’t mean just physically. How are you feeling mentally? How about emotionally? Let’s put it another way: How is your mental health? 

The term “mental health” refers to mental, emotional, and social well-being. Poor mental health isn’t the same thing as mental illness. People with mental illnesses, like depression or schizophrenia, can have periods of good mental health. The opposite is also true. Those without a mental illness can go through times of poor mental health.

Many factors can influence a person’s mental health. Genes and brain chemistry can have an impact. So can life experiences, such as past memories and trauma. The mental health of those around us, especially family members, can also influence our own.

Why does mental health matter? It can influence nearly every part of a person’s life. It affects our abilities to learn, make decisions, and build connections with others. Mental health can even impact physical health.

Are you WONDERing how to care for your mental health? There are many ways to do so. Exercising, eating healthy food, and drinking enough water can make a huge difference. Another important step is to get the right amount of sleep.

Everyone deals with stress in their lives. Finding healthy ways to cope is another important part of caring for your mental health. Many people use practices like yoga, meditation, or patterned breathing. These activities can be very calming and may help with relaxation.

Do you have any favorite hobbies? Taking part in activities you enjoy can also improve mental health. Try a new craft, read a book, or play outside with friends or family members. These are all great ways to achieve well-being.

It’s also important to stay connected. If you’re feeling down, talk with a friend or family member. Many people find that this usually helps, even when they don’t feel like talking. Speaking with a therapist or other mental health professional can also make a difference. They can help people find the right practices and tools to help them feel better.

Are you worried that someone you know may be going through a difficult time? A few signs of poor mental health include low energy, pulling away from people and activities, and feelings of hopelessness. People dealing with poor mental health may also eat and sleep too little or too much.

What is the best way to help someone struggling with mental health? The most useful thing is to just be there for them. Invite the person to fun events and activities. Make sure they know you’re available if they want to talk. If you start to worry that someone’s mental health may put them at risk of hurting themselves or others, alert a trusted adult as soon as possible.

So, how are you feeling? Spend some time today checking in with your mental and emotional state. Take a few deep breaths and think about the things you’re grateful for in life. These quick steps can make a big difference for your mental health!

Standards: CCRA.R.4, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.W.9, CCRA.W.10, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.SL.1

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