6 Lifestyle Changes for Mental Health
Mental health is crucial to a person’s well-being, but, unfortunately, it is often overlooked. Whether we face an early or midlife crisis, our mental health determines how we perceive our life situation.
Since mental health profoundly affects our thinking process, it makes no sense to ignore it. However, it is not sufficiently discussed because of the societal stigma attached to it.
People tend to focus just on physical development when thinking of personal development. However, research clearly shows that there are various aspects to personal development.
It can be argued that personal development has more to do with one’s mental health and thought patterns than it does with one’s physical condition.
It is equally true that physical health also has a great bearing on mental health, and the two are interconnected in a way that can affect the quality of our life.
Studies indicate that one in every four people suffers from some form of mental issue. In spite of this alarming statistic, nearly half receive full information about the various medications and treatment options available.
Given the stigma and taboo attached to mental health, people refrain from exploring the right choices, out of social pressure and fear of being ostracized.
The mental health of an individual affects all aspects of their life, from how they act, think, make decisions, to how they cope with stress.
It is unfortunate to realize how simple lifestyle changes can significantly affect your quality of life, especially if you have mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety.
Additionally, lifestyle changes can minimize your risk of developing medical conditions that often accompany mental illness, like heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.
However, with the advancements in technology, as more research findings become available, therapists have considerably changed how they treat patients with mental health issues, especially depression.
Facilities such as the Chicago ketamine clinic focus on modern ketamine treatment for depression along with influencing lifestyle changes in patients.
With that said, we’re now going to talk about the different lifestyle changes that can significantly improve your well-being:
6 Lifestyle Changes To Improve Mental Health
1. Improve Your Diet
We are all aware that what we consume directly impacts our health. Our diet profoundly affects, both positively and negatively, our mental health. For example, University of Warwick researchers have found that consuming vegetables and fruits in your diet boosts your mental health.
With improved mental health, you are less likely to be vulnerable to depressive and anxious thoughts and feel more optimistic, resilient, and happy.
In contrast, according to new research, fatty foods may alter your gut bacteria, leading to an increased risk of developing psychiatric problems.
In research conducted on mice, it was found that the high-fat diet resulted in memory impairments, anxiety, repetition of self-harming behavior, and brain inflammation. However, there are certainly good and healthy fats, like omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon, that help fight against depression.
Sugar consumption should be kept to a minimum. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that high sugar intake can cause rapid weight gain and even produce an addictive response in some people, worsening mental health symptoms.
For people with mental health issues, exercise has been proven to be extremely beneficial. Physical activity, even low-impact activity, such as walking, can reduce the occurrence of depression, with no negative impact on the body. Schizophrenic patients have also been known to benefit from exercise.
Additionally, exercising helps you maintain a healthy weight. Most medications used to treat mental illness cause weight gain as a side effect. You will not only become unhealthy and prone to conditions, like diabetes if you are overweight, but you will also experience mental distress.
3. Sleep More
Insufficient sleep is considered one of the primary causes of depression, stress, and anxiety. You should maintain a regular sleep schedule, go to sleep and wake up at appointed hours, avoid eating heavily before sleeping, and exercise regularly.
In addition, you should avoid activities that can keep you awake well into the night, such as late-night movie marathons. Making these lifestyle changes will improve your quality and duration of sleep.
Poor sleeping habits have many negative side effects, including increasing your proclivity for unhealthy foods, increasing cell damage, obesity as well as worsening mental illness symptoms.
Studies have shown that sleep deprivation triggers symptoms related to schizophrenia. On the other hand, a good night’s sleep can help keep stress at bay, as well as boost your mood, keep your brain cells protected and give you the energy to face anything life throws your way.
Humans are social animals, and they are known to thrive on social interactions. When you spend more time with friends and family, you will naturally feel more content. Physical and mental illness are both aggravated by isolation. Make an effort to be more social and expand your circle of friends. You can improve your mental health by connecting with others.
5. Maintain a Journal
Writing down your feelings can be a healthy way of expressing yourself. Write down your emotional triggers and understand why you feel a certain way when you do.
Journaling is a way to practice therapy on your own self. Once you have documented your feelings, identified triggers, and vowed to change your patterns with concrete measures, you can refer back to the journal from time to time to reflect on your progress and tweak your methods.
6. Spend time in Nature
It is always a good idea to spend time in the nature. When the sun shines bright, we can’t help but feel bright on the inside as well. Sunshine promotes mood-maintaining chemicals such as serotonin in our bodies.
In addition, it increases vitamin D levels, which is also beneficial to our mental health and helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle.
On the other hand, adopting and taking care of pets have also been associated with positive mental health. Studies suggest having a pet has many positive effects and animal-assisted therapy (with cats, horses, dogs, and even dolphins) is also beneficial for improving feelings of well-being.
Mental health isn’t something that we should take lightly. A person’s entire well-being depends on the way they feel and think. Therefore, if you’re not feeling well or are suffering from continuous mood swings, you should make the above-mentioned lifestyle changes to start improving your mental health and enjoying a healthier life.
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