As Mental Health Month continues, we’d like to call attention to a key program resource – Vitality HealthyMind™ – an initiative developed as part of our continued commitment to improving the mental health of our members.
Total well-being cannot be achieved by focusing on just any one component of health, such as physical. Financial, social and mental well-being also have a dramatic influence on a person’s overall health. This is the reasoning behind the development of HealthyMind, a new component of Vitality focused on helping members build better mental well-being. We’ve concentrated on two core areas of a healthy mind to improve people’s sleep habits and their ability to deal with stress through improved mindfulness.
According to research from Harvard Medical School chronic sleep problems affect 50 to 80 percent of patients in a typical psychiatric practice, compared with 10 to 18 percent of adults in the general U.S. population. Sleep problems are common in patients with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Many of us are sabatoging our chances for a good night’s sleep by using our electonic devices right before betime. The light from our devices has a higher concentration of blue light that affects levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin and can have a dramatic impact on our quality of sleep. Experts recommend limiting the use of technology devices 60 to 90 minutes before bed in order to help get a quality night’s rest.
To help members get a better night’s sleep, we’ve created an intervention driven through the Vitality Today™ mobile app, through which members earn points for eight hours of downtime per night.
Sleep Well is set up as a 30-day challenge. If members reach 20 nights with eight hours of downtime, they earn an additional 100 Vitality Points® for a total of 300 as part of the program.
It’s no shock that the vast majority of people in the United States experience stress or symptoms of stress. A report from the American Psychological Association showed that 75 percent of Americans report experiencing at least one symptom of stress in the past month. When considering the behaviors that we have the opportunity to impact, helping members build habits that help them manage stress creates a strong opportunity to broadly impact the effects stress can have in our daily lives.
There is a growing body of evidence around how actions like deep breathing exercises can influence the ability to cope with or reduce stress levels.
Through mobile apps, we are motivating members by rewarding them with Vitality Points for various meditation- and breathing-related activities. Vitality is pairing with best-in-class applications such as Headspace, Calm, and the Apple Breathe app to give members easy access to utilize these mindfulness techniques.
Members connect their Vitality Today mobile app to either their Apple Health Kit app or Google Health app, which allows participation data to be shared between Vitality and the paired apps. Members can engage in one or all of the paired apps, allowing members a choice in how they participate in mindfulness activities. As long as they reach a cumulative 10 minutes of engagement, they will be rewarded their Vitality Points.
Living a healthy lifestyle may not be easy, but by looking at your overall health every day – both physically and mentally – you can go a long way in ensuring that you focus on your Fitness #4Mind4Body.
Share your successes with us and Mental Health America by posting with #4mind4body!