Pennsylvania Residents Have Many Outlets for Anxiety
by Jennifer Scott
If you’re suffering with anxiety, depression, substance abuse disorders, or other mental health conditions, take heart knowing that your home state can help you heal.
There is no shame in seeking help for issues that consume you. Depression and anxiety are difficult to overcome on your own. Thankfully, there are many qualified clinical counselors from Pittsburg to Philadelphia and everywhere in between. Counseling isn’t simply “getting things off your chest,” although having a nonjudgmental listener is extremely therapeutic. Counselling is more about self-discovery and self-reflection. It is a tool you can use to get yourself unstuck and gain a better understanding of your actions. Getting help is one good choice you can make for your mental health and overall well being.
Nature. It’s all around you all the time. All you have to do is step outside. And, at least according to Jo Barton and Jules N. Pretty, researchers from the University of Essex, a dose of the outdoors can improve your mental health. The Keystone State offers ample opportunities to mix and mingle with Mother Nature. Skiing at Laurel Mountain State Park is a family-friendly activity that will not only help your recovery from depression, but can forge stronger bonds between you and your children/spouse. There are countless trails and mountains throughout the state, too, so you can choose to take a stroll on a paved walkway or gear up for a grander expedition.
Did you know that giving your time to a cause near and dear to your heart could actually stave off depression? Well, it can, says Harvard Women’s Health Watch Editor Stephanie Watson. Volunteering may even lower your blood pressure and help you live longer. And since a healthy body directly correlates to a healthy mind, don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and make a difference in the world around you. There are more than 250 volunteer opportunities in the Johnstown area alone (for a listing, check out VolunteerMatch.org). You can give your time to your children’s school, a local animal shelter, delivering meals to the elderly, or virtually any cause that makes you feel good about your time on this earth.
Give your brain a boost by filling it with more information. Studies suggest that education can protect your brain from the effects of anxiety and depression but to what degree remains unclear. However, digesting new information is never a bad thing and especially when combined with learning something new and fun, such as painting, clay art, or jewelry making. Learning a new hobby (even if you aren’t great at it) can keep your days interesting and help you find control and better manage stress, regardless of age. Check out the Community Arts Center of Cambria County for adult classes on everything from knitting to acrylic painting.
If you are suicidal or fear that being alone would trigger a relapse, please seek help immediately. However, if you feel you need to get away and have some time for yourself, PA has plenty of places for that. Sometimes, just a night or two without someone asking for your help with homework, needing you to fix a problem at the office, or looking to you for dinner can really make a big difference in your health and well being. A weekend alone at one of the area’s many bed and breakfasts can open your eyes to a whole new world and give you the time you need to relax and recover from the stresses of everyday life.
No matter where you live, there are resources to help you overcome mental health disorders. Thankfully, you live in one of the most beautiful states in the nation and never have far to go to find an outlet for what ails you.