Steps to prolonging mental health

Your brain serves as the driving force behind every bodily function. There are a wide number of conditions that can impact your mental wellbeing and overall health. In fact, one in five U.S. adults, or approximately 43.8 million people, experience mental illness every year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. This can include conditions as common as depression as well as disorders like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Let's take a look at some tips to help prolong your mental health and maintain your wellbeing.

"Taking a mental health day can help refocus to be more beneficial and productive."

1. Take a mental health day

The 9-to-5 slog of working five days a week can take a toll on anyone. People get up early, chug coffee and need to fulfill a variety of tasks, then repeat the next day. Pressures from the job alongside other obligations can drive up stress levels and lead to depression, substance abuse and other mental health issues. Forbes Coaches Council noted that taking a mental health day can help refocus and regroup to be more productive at work. Businesses and physicians alike must encourage people to rest their bodies and minds by creating a culture of mental wellness. This will reduce the costs associated with lost work and actively help employees thrive.

2. Start exercising

Exercising has been shown to offer a plethora of benefits to the body, but recent research now shows that aerobic exercise also has a positive effective on the brain as well. Nearly 34,000 Norwegian adults were studied over the course of 11 years, reporting how often they exercised, the intensity of the workout and how depressed or anxious they felt. The result suggested that even as little as an hour of exercise each week could help prevent depressive episodes and that people who simply got moving were less likely to report symptoms than those that didn't exercise, Business Insider reported. Past studies have linked exercise to a lift in mood and improved memory as well.

3. Go on a tech break

Stress can come from a wide variety of sources. The most obvious is working; jobs can create a lot of pressure on people to perform well. However, people also experience stress outside of their careers through their personal obligations and technology use. Technology in particular can contribute to stressful behaviors. The American Psychological Association's annual "Stress In America" report found that attachment to devices and constant technology use led to higher stress levels for 43 percent of Americans. This can stem from constantly checking email, texts and social media profiles. While 65 percent acknowledged that unplugging is important for their mental health, only 28 percent of these respondents actually reported periodically going on a digital detox.

Mental illness is far more common than might be perceived. Conditions might develop over time due to stress and other factors, but there are simple solutions to help prolong mental health and preserve your well being. Doctors should encourage patients to be open about their mental health and to seek help when needed.