If someone is diagnosed with mental health disorders like anxiety or depression, first line treatments typically include psychotherapies as well as medication. The things that aren’t always talked about is the changing lifestyle elements that impact the health of our minds.
Even those who do not have a mental health problem are likely to be looking for ways to boost their mood, decrease anxiety, and improve their mental health throughout the day.
It is empowering to change your life for the better. While financial and time limitations can limit people’s capacity to make modifications, everyone has the capacity to make even small significant adjustments.
Here are five lifestyle changes to get you started:
1. Start eating better and moving
Wholefoods, such as the leafy greens of vegetables and legumes wholegrains as well as lean red meat, and fish, supply the nutrients essential for proper brain functioning. These foods are rich in folate, magnesium, as well as essential fatty acids.
Polyphenol-rich foods like berries, dark chocolate, tea wine , and some herbs can also play a crucial part in the brain’s function..
In terms exercise, many types of fitness activities are potentially beneficial – from swimming, to jogging, to lifting weights, or playing sports . Even just getting the body moving by taking a brisk walk or doing active housework is a positive step.
Activities that involve interaction with other people as well as exposure to nature can be able to improve mental health more.
General guidelines for exercise suggest at minimum 30 mins of moderate exercise at least on most days of each weeks (about 150 minutes in total during the course of the week). Even short bursts of exercise can result in an immediate boost in mood.
2. Eliminate your vices
Controlling substance abuse or problem drinking is a logical health suggestion. People who suffer from alcohol or drug problems are more likely than the general population of developing mental illnesses, and also have much lower health outcomes..
Some studies have demonstrated that a small amount of drinking alcohol (in particular wines) could have positive effects in the prevention of depression. However, other research, which is more recent have revealed that moderate drinking alcohol is not able to provide positive effects on brain function.
The decision to stop smoking is crucial, as those who are addicted to nicotine are being influenced by the withdrawal craving cycle, which can profoundly impact mood. It can take some time to resolve the initial symptoms that result from quitting nicotine, however the brain’s chemical chemistry will adjust as time passes.
Quitting smoking cigarettes is connected with improved mood and less anxiety.
3. Make sure you get enough rest and sleep.
Sleep hygiene practices are designed to enhance sleep quality and to treat insomnia. These include adjusting your caffeine consumption as well as limiting exposure to mattress (regulating your sleep duration and only allowing a certain amount of time to rest) and ensuring that you wake up at the same time each morning.
Some people are genetically wired towards being more of a morning or evening person, so we need to ideally have some flexibility in this regard (especially with work schedules).
It’s also crucial not to try to force yourself to sleep. If you’re unable to get to sleep within 20 mins, it could be better to rise and concentrate your attention on a task (with the least amount of stimulation and light) until you’re exhausted.
Another key element to better sleeping is to minimize your exposure to lights particularly blue light from smartphones and laptops prior to bed. This can increase the production of melatonin that aids in getting you to sleep.
Making time for relaxing and leisure activities is crucial for managing stress. The pursuit of hobbies can also improve the quality of your mental health, especially those that involve physical exercise.
4. Get your dose of nature
When the sun shines we all seem to be happier. A good dose of sunshine increases levels of the mood-sustaining chemical serotonin. It also increases levels of vitamin D and can affect mental well-being and assists in the right time to regulate our sleep/wake cycle.
The benefits of exposure to sunlight need to be considered in conjunction with the risk of developing skin cancer, so you should take into account guidelines to sun-exposure according to the season and time of year as well as your skin’s colour.
It’s also possible to limit the exposure you have to toxic substances in the environment such as chemicals, pollutants and other chemicals such as “noise” pollution, and decreasing the time spent on your phone, computer , and TV usage, especially if they are excessive.
The solution could be spending time outdoors in the nature. Studies have shown that that time spent in the wild can boost mood and self-esteem. In certain regions of Asia the act of taking a walk in the woods (known by the name of forest bathing) is thought to be as a prescription for mental health.
A natural extension of spending time in flora is also the positive effect that animals have on us. Research suggests having a pet has many positive effects, and animal-assisted therapy (with horses, cats, dogs, and even dolphins) may also boost feelings of well-being.
5. Call us anytime you need assistance
Positive lifestyle modifications aren’t meant to replace treatment or psychotherapy instead, they serve as something that people can do themselves in addition to their treatment.
Although most lifestyle changes can be positive, certain changes (such like avoiding unhealthy foods alcohol, for instance or quitting smoking cigarettes) could be difficult if being used as a mental toe. They may require to be handled carefully and supported by a professional.
Abstinence advice, whether strict or stringent or a rigorous regimen of exercise or diet could cause additional stress and guilt, in the event that you fail to meet the requirements. Therefore, be gentle with yourself.
However, take the time to consider what you’re feeling mentally after a satisfying, wholefood-based dinner, a peaceful night’s rest (free from alcohol) or a stroll in the countryside with a loved one. `