Mental health issues are on the rise. Suffering from anxiety and depression is becoming more and more common these days. If you suffer from a mental health illness, the treatment plan typically consists of traditional l therapies and prescription medications. Lifestyle choices that can positively influence mental health can be overlooked or trivialized.
This article isn’t to discredit a severe medical diagnosis. Nor is it meant to take the place of seeing a licensed professional trained and equipped to help you in your journey toward mental wellness. It aims to shed light on a few lifestyle changes that may support you as you get the professional help needed.
According to Psychology Today, “This is a lamentable oversight because lifestyle changes—like nutrition and exercise—can significantly impact the quality of life, for any of us, but especially for those dealing with issues such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. They can also help minimize the development of risk factors that can lead to conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension, all of which are seen at higher rates in those with mental illness, the study noted.”
Improving your lifestyle choices can be a real game-changer. It can enhance your look and emotions and give you a new lease on life. It can boost your confidence and ripple effect on other areas of your life. However, for some, just the mention of change can be overwhelming. Today, we will discuss lifestyle changes you can make in small increments that can impact your overall mental well-being.
Here Are Five Lifestyle Choices To Get You Headed in the Right Direction:
Add Healthier Foods and Hydration to the Mix:
Messing with your food can be overwhelming because we eat food for many reasons. There is a huge emotional connection to the foods we eat and why. So, instead of overhauling your entire diet. Take a few manageable baby steps. Instead of focusing on subtracting unhealthy favorites, begin by adding healthy whole fruit and veggies. Then, notice how different these foods make you feel. As you become aware of how these nutritious foods make you think, you might crave them even more.
Studies show that our diet can impact our mental health, both positively and negatively. According to new research from the University of Warwick, economists and public health researchers studied the eating habits of 80,000 people in Britain. They found mental well-being appeared to rise with the number of daily portions of fruit and vegetable people consumed. Well-being peaked at seven servings a day.
This is powerful because mental well-being—enthusiasm, joy, self-esteem, and resilience—can help safeguard against mental health issues and physical illnesses.
Oh, and don’t forget to drink plenty of clean filtered water. Dehydration can make you feel miserable and tired.
Spend Quiet Time In Nature:
If going outdoors is for you, try a small dose of nature.
We live in a noisy world. Outside, we are harassed by cars honking, public noises, and the general hustle and bustle of the surroundings. Chatter, cell phone notifications, office equipment, background TV noise, etc bombard us.
Making space for quiet time can do wonders for our mental health. Nature has a way of providing this space and has reduced anxiety and depression while increasing our creativity and overall sense of calm and peace. This will result in more focused thoughts throughout the day.
Add Movement to Your Day:
I like to refer to exercise as “movement” because images of running a marathon and pumping heavy weights start downloading when you think of exercising. Remember you are adding baby steps. Exhausting workouts can add tremendous stress to the body and the brain. Unless you are in good physical shape and are conditioned to running five miles a day, you might want to take it easy here and work your way up. Your body and your mind will thank you. Again, if going outside is alright for you, I suggest a brisk walk around the block for starters. You can receive the double mental health benefit from movement and nature. Walking in nature can do wonders for your mental health.
Bulletproof your LIfe from Stress:
We can’t eliminate stress, but we can bulletproof ourselves from the toll that unrelenting stressors can have on us.
Mental illness and stress can form a vicious cycle. Creating a strategy and developing habits to reduce stress can help to break this destructive cycle.
Here are Some Effective Stress Management Techniques:
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Deep Breathing
- Eliminating toxic, stressful relationships
- Tai Chi
- Spend time doing activities that bring you joy
Discuss Your Problem With Someone Safe
Every problem is not for everybody. Learn who you can trust with your innermost feelings and or concerns. If you have a problem, talking about it to the right person might greatly help you. It is important to remember that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. “An issue that is partially shared is an issue that is half solved.”
Your mental health can suffer if you constantly suppress negative or hurtful thoughts, like anger and frustration. You will feel stressed and tense and may not get enough quality sleep at night. These emotions accumulate quickly and can spiral out of control.
If talking to a trusted friend is insufficient, it may be time to speak to a licensed professional. Seeking professional help may resolve your issue faster than you thought possible.
Whether you choose the professional route or not, lifestyle choices may not fix your problem, but they support you as you move toward mental wellness.
Be well + prosper,
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