Mental Health and Lifestyle Changes

Ask the vast majority of people how think mental health problems are treated and they will generally say through medication and counselling.  In a recent University of Illinois study, about half of those with symptoms of mental illness reported that they receive no wellness advice from their health care provider.

When you consider that some simple lifestyle changes can have the same benefits as medication in trials and at a cost of fractions when compared to medication and counselling hours.  Things as simple as good nutrition and simple exercise can have marked benefits for each and every one 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.

Some simple steps that you can take yourself are:

Better Diet

Ditch the high processed foods, lower the intake of sugar which is now being linked to an increase in depression, avoid the fast food bad fat junk.  Good fats found in oily fish such as salmon, avocados, walnuts, sardines and lean beef are all good sources of omega 3 an essential fatty acid.  Another essential in your diet are probiotic, I have posted on healthy gut healthy mind before.  Eating a well-balanced diet of whole foods is a great starting point in self-help with your mental health.

Exercise

By exercise I do not mean countless hours spent in the gym doing boring monotonous tread mill miles.  Any form of exercise has been shown to improve the well-being of many patients showing mental health issues, from a 30 minute walk to 30 minutes spent in the garden.  Time spent in the outdoors benefits the mind in many ways as my post on Ecotherapy shows.

Doing exercise not only benefits your mental health but also your physical and the two go hand in glove, when the one is healthy the other benefits.

Reduce Stress

There are a number of ways that research has shown help to reduce and manage stress levels.  Recent studies have shown that as little as 15 minutes of meditation and mindfulness over three can help to keep stress levels lower and build resilience.  I do a daily practice of mindful meditation and the benefits I have seen since I started have been lower stress levels, more focused, clarity in thought, and more time.  Another great way to manage stress levels is yoga add in the benefits that is great exercise and it is a win win.

Sleep

I can not stress enough the importance of sleep, it is as important to our body as food and drink, it is the time our brain processes information, consolidates memories, the time our body repairs itself.   Poor sleep is linked to physical problems such as a weakened immune system and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.  The bedroom should be for two things sleep and sex, no TV no checking on email or Facebook using the phone, tablet or laptop.  Set a sleep routine one hour before bed turn off the TV, laptop and tablets, the smart phone and other sources of blue light.  Read a book or listen to some calming music.  Set a time each night for bed forget the often benign TV, try to go to bed the same time each night and get up at the same time, keep a sleep diary and work out your bodies sleep pattern and times.

These 4 simple self-help can have a great benefit on your mental health and well-being.  Men

Please feel free to contact me on any of the subjects and for further information.

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