About Janine Monico

Janine Monico is a digital marketing consultant who has managed the Healthy Minds Philly initiative website since 2015.

Happy Pride, Indeed!

The month of June brings a colorful array of events for and by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) communities, especially here in the city of Philadelphia. History shows us these communities have experienced their share of triumphs as well as tribulations. More recently, the roller coaster climate of anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-trans laws, policies, and sentiments continue to bring pain to the LGBTQ+ communities. In a 2021 national poll conducted by The Trevor Project, 85 percent of transgender and nonbinary youth surveyed indicated a decrease in their mental health due to anti-trans bills being debated in this country. For those who encounter challenges due to racism in addition to anti-LGBTQ+ actions, anxiety and depression are even more heightened.  Over the years, I have had my share of growth around identity. As an immigrant first, a member of the LGBTQ+ communities, and a person in recovery – the times I felt most able to thrive and succeed were when those around me would engage with me in a way that it was clear they were open to learning. Perhaps I was not understood, or the person next to me did not wish to acknowledge nor agree with my Queer identity. However, I am grateful for the times where spaces to learn, unlearn, and connect were created through mutual respect [...]

2022-05-31T20:22:50-04:00May 31st, 2022|LGBTQIA|

Breathing Exercise

Ariana Grande’s popular song "breathin’" is an anthem to anxiety that speaks to a simple solution with a multitude of benefits. “Don’t know what else to try, but you tell me every time, just keep breathin’ and breathin’” chants the pop superstar. Unfortunately, most of us weren’t taught the simple techniques and range of positive outcomes that come with—well—simply breathing. It happens to all of us. Feelings like anxiety, stress, and fear cause our breathing to be shallow, irregular, or rapid. It’s entirely normal. Our body’s automatic response is to protect itself. The trick is to focus not on what’s happening around us, but to what is happening within us. We are breathing. It’s our most basic instinct. Practicing steady, deep breathing delivers more oxygen to the body and brain, reduces your heart rate and decreases the release of cortisol—better known as the stress hormone. Deep breathing also releases endorphins. This in turn increases a sense of calm and can combat pain. Other known benefits of deep breathing include: Lower blood pressure –Relaxation opens the blood vessels and improves circulation More energy—From increased oxygen to the circulatory system Less headache pain - Due to reduced tension locked in the shoulders and neck (you’ll rest better, too!) Practice Makes Perfect Getting back to steadier breaths is within reach. All it takes [...]

2022-04-29T14:55:06-04:00May 1st, 2022|Anxiety, Mental Health, Self-Help, Stress|

Boost Your Mental Health with Exercise

Mental Health Awareness Month offers the perfect opportunity to reflect on and reprioritize our mental health and wellness. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Taking time for reflection is important; knowing what drains our energy and what gives us energy strengthens our ability to honor and take care of ourselves. I want to highlight one tool within our mental health and wellness toolbox:  Exercise.   Exercise is an excellent tool for relieving stress, increasing energy, and promoting positive wellbeing. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity. However, you do not need to push through a session at the gym to receive the perks associated with regular physical activity. Walks around your neighborhood, opting to take stairs, and even doing squats while your brush your teeth can all provide benefits. Studies show that regardless of age or fitness level, exercise can provide some mental health benefits, such as: Promoting happiness  Exercise releases endorphins, creating feelings of happiness and euphoria. Research has shown that, in some cases, exercise works as well as medication in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression – and the effects can be long-lasting. One vigorous exercise session can alleviate symptoms for hours, and a regular schedule may significantly reduce them over time.  Preventing cognitive decline The brain [...]

2022-04-29T09:56:39-04:00May 1st, 2022|Anxiety, Depression, Mental Health|

Stand Together for Mental Health

The mind is the seat of consciousness, unconsciousness, and mental processes including thought, imagination, memory, will, and sensation. It is responsible for perception, pain experience, belief, desire, intention, and emotion. Imagine this seat of consciousness and unconsciousness has been infiltrated and those processes are compromised.  How would you know? What would you do if you knew?   Most experts agree trauma is an underlying (and often unresolved) common denominator for individuals experiencing behavioral health challenges. Trauma has an indelible impact on all of us whether from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) or traumas experienced across the lifespan. The pandemic introduced another layer of complexity. COVID-19 forced many to operate, isolate, and perform in ways that created stress, uncertainty, and confusion.  Studies show individuals are more likely to perform better when their mental health and wellbeing (MWB) is high. MWB is a critical part of developing healthy coping skills to manage the challenges we face every day. Mental health is defined by the World Health Organization as not merely the absence of mental health problems but as a “state of wellbeing in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community”. MWB is central to effective human functioning.  Let’s go back [...]

2022-04-29T10:36:22-04:00May 1st, 2022|Mental Health|
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