May is Mental Health Month—promoted every year by Mental Health America, a leading community-based non-profit organization. This year’s theme, ‘Tools 2Thrive’ focuses on the practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase resiliency, regardless of the situations they are dealing with.
Source: You can access Mental Health America (MHANational.org) resources from the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness.
Train Your Brain
We’ve all heard the adage that practice makes perfect, but how does that relate to our own mental well-being? Thanks to neuroplasticity, or our brains’ ability to reorganize when faced with new feedback, (much like strength training helps our muscles grow larger and stronger) our mental well-being improves with practice and repetition.
According to research by neuroscientist Richard Davidson, our mental well-being is directly related to our neural network. As we exercise these parts of our brain, they become stronger. Davidson identified several skills that can help us take advantage of brain plasticity and create pathways toward higher levels of mental well-being.
1. Resilience: While times of stress are inevitable, the way we bounce back from stress is a sign of our resilience and is within our control.
Resilience is the degree to which we recover in the face of adversity; some people recover slowly and other people recover more quickly. Research shows that resilience is not an innate trait; instead, it’s based on behaviors, skills and actions that anyone can develop.
As we practice behaviors like flexibility during difficult times and challenges, we begin to reshape neural pathways that make it easier to be resilient when faced with emotional pain in the future
2. Outlook: Is your glass half empty or half full? The answer relates to your outlook—the ability to focus on filtering feedback and magnify the positive aspects of a situation. The second exercise is to strengthen mental well-being.
Research shows that when it comes to practicing a positive outlook, a little goes a long way. Simple and short practices of compassion meditation and positive self-talk show activation in the brain circuit underlying outlook, even in individuals who suffer from depression.
Try this meditation to strengthen your positive outlook: https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/loving_kindness_meditation
3. Attention: The next exercise for strengthening mental well-being is attention—or being present in the moment. Research shows that a lack of attention or focus inhibits our ability to manage stress and increases anxious thoughts (Halliwell, 2017). Conversely, being present helps us deal with pain more effectively and increases our perceived level of happiness. Studies show that the happiest people reported being present to what they were doing in the moment, no matter what the activity was. Ask yourself these questions to gauge your attention:
- What are you doing right now?
- Where is your mind right now? Is it focused on what you’re doing, or is it focused elsewhere?
- How happy or unhappy are you right now?
Don’t forget that May is Mental Health Awareness month, which is a great time to start training for stronger mental well-being. Like exercise for our bodies, research shows that with repetition and practice, neural pathways grow and strengthen, making us better equipped to manage stress and adversity.
Check out these online resources and Apps
Access Mental Health America (MHANational.org) resources from the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness.
The Live Happy app brings you scientifically proven tips and ideas to live a happier and more meaningful life through interviews with positive psychology and well-being thought leaders. Download on your smartphone from the App Store or Google Play. Click here to download the Live Happy App.
Targeted Mental Health Resources
The below links are supportive tools for you to connect with directly. The list includes resources tailored for unique needs and circumstances.
- For men and the women who love them – Man Therapy www.mantherapy.com
- For adolescents and teens – Seize the Awkward – https://seizetheawkward.org/
- For the anxious child – https://goodbyeanxietyhellojoy.com/
- For veterans – https://www.reach.gov/resources/
- For caregivers – https://www.workplacementalhealth.org/mental-health-topics/caregiving
- For the Latino and Hispanic Communities – www.latinxtherapy.com
Mental Wellness for Children and Families
Recommended Reading – brought to you by www.LatinXTherapy.com
For Children https://latinxtherapy.com/recommended-books-for-children/ (also available in Spanish)
For Adults https://latinxtherapy.com/books-adults/ (also available in Spanish)
Family Support Groups – brought to you by NAMI
NAMI Family Support Group is a peer-led support group for any adult with a loved one who has experienced symptoms of a mental health condition. Gain insight from the challenges and successes of others facing similar experiences.
NAMI’s support groups are unique because they follow a structured model, ensuring everyone has an opportunity to be heard and to get what they need.
- Free of cost to participants
- Designed for adult loved ones of people with mental health conditions
- Led by family members of people with mental health conditions
- 60-90 minutes long and meets weekly, every other week or monthly (varies by location)
- No specific medical therapy or treatment is endorsed
What You’ll Gain
By sharing your experiences in a safe setting, you can gain hope and develop supportive relationships. This group allows your voice to be heard and provides an opportunity for your personal needs to be met. It encourages empathy, productive discussion and a sense of community. You’ll benefit from other’s experiences, discover your inner strength and empower yourself by sharing your own experiences in a non-judgmental space.
NAMI Family Support Group will help you:
- Aim for better coping skills
- Find strength in sharing experiences
- Not judge anyone’s pain
- Forgive ourselves and reject guilt
- Embrace humor as healthy
- Accept that we cannot solve every problem
- Understand that mental health conditions are no one’s fault and can be traumatic experiences
To learn more, click here
Welcome to Principal, Covenant Care’s new financial wellbeing and 401K partner
Free Webinar Series – Webinars are held the third Wednesday of every month, 9 a.m. PST
Financial education in under 30 minutes
Your financial goals are unique and so is your path to get there. Our award-winning* webinar series is here to help along the way. In less than 30 minutes, you can learn more about a financial topic that matters to you.
Register for an upcoming webinar or catch up on your time with a library of replays.
This month’s Webinar
Wednesday, May 19, 2021, 9:00 a.m. PST
Essentials of Investing: Building for Retirement
The essentials of investing: understanding what it is, how it works, and what strategies can help you meet your future goals—like saving for retirement. After we cover the basics, we’ll dive into the most important question—how can you make money from investing? Join us for our May webinar and build up your investing knowledge.
- Expanding and protecting savings
- Debt and emergency savings (also in Spanish)
- HSAs and health care
- Reassessing finances after a market downturn
- Investing how-to
- Women and people of color
- Protecting assets and leaving a legacy (also in Spanish)
- Nearing retirement checklist
- Saving for college and student loans
- Estate planning
- Year-end tax prep and tax reform
- Social Security
Can’t make an upcoming webinar? View a replay anytime at Principal.com LearnNowOnDemand
Winner of the 2020 IMEA Star Awards, Participant Webinars, Experiential Education category, large asset level.
Topics and dates are subject to change.
Insurance products and plan administrative services are provided through Principal Life Insurance Company, a member of the Principal Financial Group®, Des Moines, Iowa 50392.
PT436A-09 | © 2020 Principal Financial Services, Inc. | 12/2020 | 1435367-122020
Blueberry Fruit Ice Pops
- 2 cups frozen blueberries, thawed
- ¼ cup apple juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 pinch salt
Combine blueberry pop ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into 5 pop molds. Place in freezer for at least 5 hours or overnight.
Carrier News & Views
Mental Health Support from your carrier
For Kaiser Members
MyStrength App – Really fantastic for stress management, anxiety, depression and even smoking cessation. Learns with the user so each experience is different.
CALM App – Meditation app that also includes relaxing music and sleep stories.
Healthy Lifestyle Programs for Stress – Digital coaching programs on stress and related health/wellness. 94 Missions (programs) to choose from!
1-1 Telephonic Coaching – Schedule an in-bound call with one of our health coaches who can view your medical record and assist with healthy behaviors.
For Non KP Members / All Employees
For Anthem Members
TAKE CARE OF YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Hub
Anthem’s affiliated health plans and Beacon Health Options have joined with Psych Hub, mental health advocates, and other national health insurers to develop a free web-based resource to support members’ mental health needs. Psych Hub offers a range of resources to help you and your family deal with pandemic-related stress such as social isolation, job loss and other mental health issues.
Navigate COVID-19 challenges like social isolation and job loss with a free mental health resource hub, powered by Psych Hub and supported by Anthem.
- Headspace Meditation App
Free section- Weathering the Storm- to learn more, click here
- Calm Meditation App
Free section for all, to access, click here
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP)- from UNUM & Health Advocate. We are here for you 24/7 – 1-800-854-1446; www.unum.com/lifebalance – The EAP can help provide COVID-19 support, grief counseling, stress/anxiety relief, and more, and is available to all employees
- Medical Bill Saver Advantage via your EAP – 1-800-854-1446; www.unum.com/lifebalance and is available to all employees
- For the latest on COVID 19– CDC website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus
- Your Financial Life Matters (Wells Fargo) – For more help, click here or call 1-844-258-7773 for a complimentary savings or credit conversation and receive a personalized plan. Representatives are available Monday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time
- Calm Meditation App
Full access free for Kaiser Members click here
Free to Kaiser Permanente members
to help support their emotional well-being.
Members can simply go to kp.org/selfcareapps and click ‘Get Started’ to register and use myStrength on their desktop, tablet or smartphone.
- Class Pass – Learn More
- Kaiser Coronavirus Hotline (available 24/7) – (877) 813-7297. After speaking with a Kaiser Permanente representative, you will be directed to the appropriate care options.
- Kaiser’s COVID-19 Information and updates visit: CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19: Learn how to protect yourself and get care
- Kp.org is a valuable resource for information and member communications, as well as a link to any telehealth services. If you havenâ€™t already done so, please register on kp.org. https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/register
- Kaiser Members- Getting Care: It’s important to contact KP before coming in. Members should call the Appointment and Advice Call Center if they are feeling sick. They will be guided through a specific screening protocol over the phone. Depending on the answers provided, the member will be directed to the most appropriate care, while protecting other members, patients and employees.
- Kaiser Drive Up: Drive up testing is accessible by physician referral/order only. If drive-up testing is available nearby, members will be notified of the appropriate arrangements.
- Kaiser Virtual Care – Manage your care with kp.org
No matter what life throws your way, you can connect to care where and when you want it. E-visits, telephone, and video appointments are simple and secure ways to get care and save yourself an office visit. They even be tracked in your electronic health record. All you need is a computer, smartphone, or mobile device. Click here to get access to care.
- Kaiser Members- access to E-visits- Log in at kp.org/appointments or go to Get Care on the KP mobile app
- Anthem Coronavirus Information – www.anthem.com/ca/coronavirus
- Anthem Sydney Care mobile app. Download the Sydney Care mobile app from the App Store® or Google Play click here to learn more
- Anthem Member Symptom Assessment
Find out what your symptoms may mean by answering five quick questions. This tool uses guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Anthem/Aunt Bertha social support services
Our partnership with Aunt Bertha provides you with a solution to help connect you and your family to social services in your communities if you need it. You can find services such as help with food, housing, job training, and transportation by visiting Aunt Bertha and entering your ZIP code.
- Anthem Skill – Ask Alexa for your health plan info.
Get quick, hands-free help with the Anthem Skill. Whether you need a new ID card or get curious if you’re about to reach your deductible, just say the words, “Alexa, ask Anthem…” to get quick answers about your health plan. The Anthem Skill works through Alexa-ready devices, like an Amazon Echo or on your mobile device using the Amazon Alexa app.
Enable the Anthem Skill today!
Live your best life!