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Healthy Ways for You to Manage Psychological Health Symptoms

man sitting by plane writing in journal

Source: U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ashlee Galloway

There are a number of healthy ways you can take care of yourself and manage psychological health concerns and symptoms on your own. Commonly referred to as self-management techniques, these practices can be used along with counseling to further ease symptoms. Work with your health care provider to discuss these options and set up a plan that best fits your needs.

Practices to Start Now

In addition to familiar practices such as getting enough sleep and eating a balanced diet, journal writing and spirituality are two easy options to try. Read more to learn how to introduce these methods into your daily life.

Journal Writing

Writing in a journal helps you process your thoughts and stay in the present. Keeping a simple log of your daily or weekly activities, and putting your feelings, frustrations, worries and concerns down on paper can help you relieve stress and come to terms with troubling events. Regular journal writing can strengthen your immune cells by helping you feel calmer. It can also help you:

  • Calm your mind
  • Let go of negative thoughts
  • Strengthen your psychological health
  • Improve your mood
  • Increase your self-confidence

Read the article “How Veterans Can Aid Resilience by Writing” to learn different writing techniques.

Spirituality

Spirituality can help you cope by connecting you to something bigger than yourself. For some, it may be a relationship with your unit, family or nature. For others, it may be a relationship with a Higher Power and religious practices. However you express it, spirituality can create values and beliefs to give life meaning. It can:

  • Increase happiness
  • Reduce anxiety and depression
  • Strengthen your bond with your unit
  • Promote a positive life outlook
  • Strengthen your personal relationships
  • Help you maintain healthy lifestyle choices

To read more about the overall health benefits of spiritual fitness, read the article “Strengthen Your Well-Being Through Spiritual Fitness.”

More Options

The following self-management techniques may require more practice and learning, but can be very helpful to manage your psychological health symptoms.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation increases awareness of the present by focusing on your breathing, body and thoughts. This technique trains the brain to stay in the present moment and can help you accept things for what they are, without judgment. By focusing on the present and not on stressful or anxiety-driven thoughts about the past, present, or the future, mindfulness meditation can help:

Read the article “Practicing Mindfulness Meditation to Cope with Stress” to learn ways to make this practice part of your daily routine.

Tai Chi

The purpose of traditional martial arts is to train a warrior’s mind and body. Training in martial arts, especially tai chi, can help service members develop a sense of calm and improve physical condition and strength. Tai chi is a mind-body practice sometimes referred to as “moving meditation.” You move your body slowly, gently and with awareness, while breathing deeply.

Practicing tai chi can:

  • Increase muscle strength and flexibility
  • Improve balance and coordination
  • Reduce anxiety and stress

An important part of building resilience and coping with stress is being aware of how you react to different situations and challenges. Consider trying out tai chi to strengthen your psychological and physical fitness. The Real Warriors Campaign article “Use Martial Arts to Cope with Stress and Boost Resilience” can help you learn more about the types of martial arts and how to begin training.

Reach Out for Additional Care

For other healthy ways to manage your symptoms, such as balancing good nutrition and exercise, read the campaign article “Total Force Fitness – Overview.” While the self-management techniques described in this article are helpful on their own, consider using them with care from a provider. Don’t hesitate to reach out for care if you have psychological health concerns. Log on to Real Warriors Live Chat or call the Psychological Resource Center at 866-966-1020 to speak confidentially with a trained health resource consultant for free, 24/7.

Note, TRICARE does not cover self-management techniques. Visit TRICARE Covered Services for information on TRICARE coverage.

Additional Resources

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