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Native Americans experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. 


Historical trauma, cultural dislocation, and socioeconomic stressors contribute to mental health challenges. While many struggle with mental health issues rather than seek help, that’s not the answer. Getting help from a professional therapist could be part of an effective wellness plan.


Here are six ways to address mental health issues, gain control, and move forward.


1. Get Sufficient Exercise


Are you getting at least 150 minutes a week of physical activity or a minimum of 75 minutes of robust aerobic activity weekly? If not, strive to get enough exercise for your mental health. You undoubtedly know regular exercise can help your physical health, but there are mental health benefits, too. Specifically, exercise can enhance your mental health by lessening depression and anxiety and improving cognitive function and self-esteem. 


You have much to gain by making exercise a regular part of your daily routine. Whether walking or jogging around the block, using a treadmill or elliptical machine, or using weights for upper or lower body workouts, you will benefit from prioritizing exercise.


2. Get Enough Sleep


Getting enough sleep is also vital for better mental health. According to one source, adults should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep nightly. Sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on your mental health. For one thing, you might struggle with managing and processing your emotions. Long-term sleep deprivation can also lead to severe health problems. 


If you’re not getting enough sleep nightly, commit to doing so for your mental health. Remember that you need quality sleep to get the benefits, and you can achieve this by setting up a bedtime routine. Try going to bed at the same time every night. You should also eliminate distractions, whether that’s the TV, radio, or anything else that prevents you from falling asleep.


3. Eat Right


A proper diet is essential for good mental health. Eat plenty of produce, fish, and higher fiber starchy carbohydrates. And cut down on salt, sugar, and saturated fat. If you eat the right food in proper proportions, you’ll be better off physically and mentally. According to one source, consuming food with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants helps the brain and safeguards it from oxidative stress. Don’t underestimate the importance diet plays in protecting your mental health.


4. Socialize


Socializing with family, friends, and others can lessen symptoms of depression by reducing anxiety, loneliness, and isolation. When engaged in social interactions, your body will release endorphins that boost happiness and relieve stress. 


Building a strong and supportive social network can help improve your mental well-being. That could mean inviting friends over for dinner, going on a road trip with family, or getting dolled up in your finest clothes and choicest accessories for a night out on the town. When spending time with people you love and care for, you invest in your mental health.


5. Attitude of Gratitude


Having an attitude of gratitude is essential. If you can't list something or someone you're grateful for, you will struggle to achieve good mental health. When focused on positive thoughts, you'll improve your mood. Start a journal to chronicle what you're grateful for. You can flip through the pages periodically for a reminder of the good things and people in your life.


6. Hobby


Yet another way to enjoy better mental health is to find an enjoyable hobby. What’s your pleasure? You can learn to play an instrument, collect stamps, build model planes, or do other things. Whether pursuing hobbies independently or with others, you can find things that bring you joy and put you in a good headspace.


Consider these six recommendations if you’re struggling with mental health issues. And, again, consider getting professional help if your efforts don’t bring the relief you need.