It is only a month into a new school year, and students have already been given numerous assignments and tests. In addition to the workload, other common worries surrounding relationships, peer pressure and future plans leave many high school students stressed and overwhelmed. Taking care of mental health is crucial since mental health affects not just how we feel daily but our physical, emotional and social well-being in the long term. A healthy mind can help us connect with others, perform better at school and make healthy decisions. However, the significance of mental health often goes unnoticed, resulting in various mental illnesses and decrease in an individual’s overall quality of life. September is also known as National Suicide Prevention Month, so it is necessary to take this time to give extra care to our mental health since mental health issues are contributing factors of suicidal thoughts. Managing mental health can be done in a variety of ways, and it is important to be aware of a method that works best for you. Whenever you are stressed and don’t know what to do to make yourself feel better, try some of the top five suggestions below.

1. Listen to music

Music is a common part of life for many people. We as humans, love sharing emotions, and music is a great way to do that. When we are listening to songs, we are not just listening. Songs arouse powerful emotional responses through vivid use of lyrics, rhythm, mood and other elements of music. For example, upbeat songs usually evoke positive emotions like happiness and excitement, while dark and gloomy songs evoke negative emotions like sadness, anger and fear. When feeling down, try both types of songs and see which makes you feel better. Upbeat songs will boost your mood by giving positive vibes, while dark and gloomy ones will make you feel understood and remind you that you are not alone.

2. Find new hobbies

Everyone’s interest varies, and pursuing your own interest can help you deal with stress and anxiety. Hobbies make you feel excitement, pleasure and motivation by releasing chemical signals such as dopamine, which makes you want to feel pleasure by doing the hobby again. Moreover, doing what you enjoy can help you improve your creativity and forget all worries, at least temporarily, and focus on the good things. If you don’t have a hobby already, try exploring what is around you and find something that you feel passionate about.

3. Write a journal

When things seem unclear, and you are frustrated, try journaling. Expressing your thoughts and feelings on a piece of paper may sound like a silly idea, but it has impressive healing effects on your mental health. It makes it clear what exactly you are struggling with, which can help you overcome obstacles more easily when you are faced by the same issue. In addition, you can learn how to control your emotions through journaling as you recognize a warning of repeated issues, identify harmful behaviors and eventually get to know yourself better.

4. Get enough sleep

Americans are well-known to be sleep-deprived. According to a report, 70% of adults in America get insufficient sleep at least one night a month, and 11% experience insufficient sleep every night. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep a day is crucial since it affects not only our daily performance but overall mood and well-being. The benefits of sleep on mental health lies in the brain activity during various sleep stages. During sleep, our brain functions to process and store memories. Therefore, lack of sleep can negatively affect how we strengthen positive feelings from the day. With the amount of work given, we often put sleep behind us. But this is the first and the fastest way to dramatically change how you feel daily.

5. Be grateful

This is probably the easiest but most often forgotten way of managing stress. Everyone has something they should be thankful for, whether small or big. When you try to be more appreciative of each thing in your life and look for ways to show gratitude, you will realize that there are so many things that you are lucky to have but forget to acknowledge. It is truly a privilege to have even simple things like food, a house, health and family. Unfortunately, in a society where comparison is prevalent, we only notice things that we don’t have. Just by being grateful, you will notice that the way you look at the world changes as your brain handles the present better with enhanced awareness and greater perception. A simple change in your mindset sounds like not a big deal, but when it comes to your mental health, it has significant impacts.

After all, mental health matters as much as your physical health does. Treating mental health is unbelievably simple but incredibly influential. There can be numerous factors of stress in high school, but incorporating the suggested tips will help you treat your mental health better.