Blog > May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Posted May 1, 2023

Improving Mental Health-Quick Tips

Dr. N. Karen Thames, PsyD

Licensed Clinical Psychologist


Maintaining a good quality of life and improving and sustaining great mental health are things that we don’t talk about enough. Whether it is because of stigma towards mental health issues, the fast paced life that we are often expected to live, or the mere avoidance of dealing with these issues that can sometimes lead to denial; many of us do not prioritize doing things to sustain great mental health. Especially in the context of how much we have to deal with in this world, it is imperative that we make mental health a top priority.

I would like to offer some simple tips that one can think about daily for improving mental health and sustaining optimal mental health:

  1. Mindfulness, being present in every moment. So, when you are sad, it’s OK to FEEL sad. Being in touch with your true self which involves a strong sense of self. So, when someone tells you a joke and you are happy, FEEL happy. Denying your feelings, good or bad, painful or joyful is not empowering. Cherish every moment. If you find that you have not been mindful that day, try to stay away from self-judging. Tomorrow is a brand-new day!
  2. Diaphragmatic breathing is breathing through your belly.. Inhale on a count of 5…1-2-3-4-5 and expand your belly while you inhale. Exhale on a count of 5. When you exhale, your belly should come in.  Practice this at least 1x daily.
  3. Mindful movement is important. You do not have to work out for 2 hrs.  Do small, short exercises that will serve you and help you to feel better.
  4. Mirror work: Your subconscious internalizes memories and messages during REM sleep. So, right before bed, say positively affirming things to yourself while looking in the mirror: “I am beautiful” “You got this!” “All good things are to come!” Etc.
  5. Visualize the best possible outcome. We have the tendency to anticipate the worst-case scenario.
  6. Create a vision board. Cut out words and images from a magazine. In all areas of life: health, wealth, relationships, friendships, profession and career, etc. Place these images on a poster board.
  7. NAPS help! . According to Dr. Kim Kerley, Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Schaumburg, IL, a 20 minute nap every day is just enough to reset the mind and keep yourself in a positive state of mind.

Lastly, it is ok to not be ok. There are times that are harder than others to get through life. Please seek support if that is the case!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255

You can visit at

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Hearing Impairments

Crisis Text Line – text 741741 to get help

IMAlive is a web based chat line-