Are you struggling with your mental health? You may be unaware of it, but your lifestyle plays a major role in the state of your health. Here are some factors that affect it.
Mental illnesses are conditions that are slowly increasing in prominence, especially due to the high numbers of suicides and other effects of mental illness. Despite their increasing visibility, much stigma still exists and this hampers efforts to address the underlying problems.
You might have a loved one struggling with problems such as depression or anxiety, or you may be going through it yourself – leaving you at a loss on what to do. However, the underlying culprit may be the environment you live in, regardless of whether you believe it or not. The lifestyles of today are rushed ones, and is increasing the rate that people are struggling with their mental health.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the endless options that are available for treatment, but do not ignore the natural options either.
Your activity levels
By this point, the advice of exercising seems like a tired trope, but it has more benefits than you may realize. Apart from promoting your physical health and controlling your weight, it also plays a major role in giving you mental health protection benefits.
In fact, exercise is very important to treating issues with mental health, and some studies even prove it as effective as antidepressants. It can also minimize muscle pain, so that makes it ideal for individuals suffering from mobility issues or chronic pain.
Even though there is no set limit on the amount of exercise to cure your mental health issues, the important thing is to stay as active as possible. For instance, walk to work instead of driving, take the stairs instead of the elevator, even ride your bike for leisure purposes.
Drug abuse and smoking
Changes in the brain due to drug abuse make you more vulnerable to mental illnesses – in fact, almost half of the people suffering from mental illnesses are also drug abusers.
Quitting is a challenge – the various stories from people attempting to quit, such as in meth withdrawal, have put them in a tough position that they cannot get out of on their own, and they have to seek help. Quitting also leads to downturns in mental health, although this is only temporary – and the positive benefits begin to appear within a few weeks. This is because the body is trying to eliminate all the toxins that interfere with mood problems, so letting go of that drug and seeking help is the best choice you will make for your mental health.
What you eat
Diet has a direct implication on your physical health, and also has a role to play in maintaining your mental health. The more unhealthy decisions you make, such as consuming foods with low nutrient value and excess processed foods, the more you are unknowingly undermining your mental health.
Chances are high you want to feel better, so start off with a balanced diet. Incorporating healthy fats into your meals, such as Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as plant fats like avocadoes, will work on improving your mood and enhancing your brain power. If you have a sweet tooth, dark chocolate is the best option you can indulge in as well.
Maintaining your physical health
The mind and the body are not separated easily, and when one is affected negatively, the other is affected as well. That means exactly that – if you struggle with your physical health, chances are high you will struggle with your mental health.
Even the physical problems that seem minor, such as an infection of the bladder or a toothache, can lead to you failing to manage the stress associated with the pain. This makes seeking medical help a wise decision. In addition, some cases of mental health problems are due to physical problems. This includes system disorders like the endocrine system, which can result in problems with your sleep cycle, anxiety and depression.
If you have tried to take psychiatric drugs and they fail to work, then you can consider getting a blood test and find out if there is a physical condition that is undermining your mental health.
Problems with abuse
Unhealthy family environments are unfortunately on the rise, and many people have endured them over the years. They include psychological, physical and sexual abuse, and these make it very difficult for the people involved to achieve sound mental health.
The effects of suffering from abuse can linger for a long time, and there are many victims who also suffer from other side effects like PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). The first thing you should do if you are suffering from abuse, is finding a way out of the mess. The second thing – do not deal with it alone, especially when you have a history of abuse. Make sure you seek help to assist you to move on with your life.
Help from the community and social activity
Friendship is so important to your mental health, so it is very important to have a circle of close friends you can lean on in tough times. Research even proves the value of friendship, as isolated individuals have more chances of suffering from mental health problems.
The activities with your friends do not need to be complex – even a simple outing for a day can improve your mood. Volunteer work with your community can assist you to feel like you are of service and help you feel more connected, as well as giving you new perspectives on dealing with everyday challenges. Sometimes, religious people are also happier due to the opportunities they get to socialize at faith-based functions.
The important thing is to find a level of socializing that you are comfortable with, and ensure you spend time with people that lift you up – no matter how overwhelming it may seem at first. Chances are high you will feel better after spending time with people you care about.
Mental health is a very important issue that should be addressed more often, but many times it is pushed under the rug – mostly because of lifestyle. However, if you are unsure of where you can start to improve your mental health or that of a loved one, seek advice from a psychiatrist or therapist, as they can help you with suggestions on improving your lifestyle.