September 18, 2018 | By: Contributor
Mental health is a key factor in a person’s overall health and wellbeing – without a positive mentality, you cannot be truly healthy. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can contribute to her or his community. Poor mental health is also linked to various health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, heart disease, and stroke. There are several simple ways to improve your mental health to boost your mentality and improve your overall wellbeing:
Adopting a healthy diet is not only beneficial for weight and physical health, but also for mental health. The Mental Health Foundation advises “your brain needs a mix of nutrients to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body.” Eating nutritious meals, drinking water, avoiding tobacco, exercising, and getting enough sleep all contribute to overall wellbeing. While there are several foods (like fruits and vegetables) that may improve mental health, there are some that are associated with poor mental health. For example, sugar, artificial additives, and caffeine can be detrimental to psychological wellbeing.
Here are a few other diet tips may be more appealing than adding fruits and vegetables to the mix. Did you know? Starting your day with coffee has been linked with lower depression rates! If you’ve got a sweet tooth, studies have linked dark chocolate as a means of boosting brainpower! The flavonoids, caffeine, and theobromine found in dark chocolate can help improve alertness and mental skills. Lastly, working omega-3 fatty acids into your diet has been linked to reduced rates of depression and schizophrenia. These fatty acids can be found in fish oil supplements, salmon, flaxseeds, and walnuts.
It is essential to surround yourself with good people – family, friends, support groups. Quality relationships are critical for a happy, healthy life. Smiling and laughter are proven to lower your heart rate, calm you down, and reduce anxiety. Spending time with animals can also decrease the stress hormone cortisol, and boost feelings of happiness. If you don’t have a pet or any family nearby, volunteer your time and energy at local animal shelters or community groups for added social interaction.
Last, but not least – value yourself! Avoid self-criticism, make time for activities you enjoy, and try new things. Complete a daily crossword puzzle, plant a garden, or learn a new language. Coloring for as little as 20 minutes can help clear your mind. Plan a vacation or something you can look forward to. Take a short walk in nature and enjoy some sunshine – Vitamin D is believed to elevate mood and increase energy levels. Find a pleasurable hobby or project and fit it into your schedule as an easy way to boost your mental health.
It is important to identify stress in your life and learn how to deal with it. It may be exercise, journal writing, a warm bath, or quiet time in prayer or meditation. It often helps to set realistic goals for yourself and steps to take to reach them. Track your achievements and gratitude along the way to gain a sense of accomplishment as you progress. Mental health plays a role as a driver of overall health and wellbeing and is something you can take control of. If you would like to discuss mental health and well-being further, contact us today!