Nine Lifestyle Changes That Can Improve Mental Health
Mental health is critical, and improving it can improve your overall well-being. Optimum or sound mental health is a state in which an individual can cope with life’s daily demands and circumstances.
Therefore, a person’s mental health status is a broad concept that incorporates physical and psychological functions and interactions.
Mental health is among the key factors affecting people’s lives and the functioning of society. The United States has the highest number of people affected by mental disorders worldwide. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), about 1 in 5 adults experience a mental illness.
It comes as no surprise that the direct costs incurred by mental disorders in the United States were estimated at $280 billion annually.
Therefore, it is important to understand its causes and lifestyle changes that can improve mental health.
1. Be Honest About Your Mental Health
Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues can be crippling. When it comes to stress, there is no need to suffer alone; seek professional help. If left untreated, minor mental health problems can transform into depression and anxiety disorders that may require long-term care.
Other common mental conditions include schizophrenia, OCD, bipolar disorder, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.
Today the world is becoming progressively aware of these psychological issues as the number of people battling mental disorders is increasing rapidly. You can find several hospitals and private centers with different mental health programs administered by clinical professionals to address these disorders. They help counter mental disorders by reducing their symptoms and devising treatment plans.
You can explore www.vistapineshealth.com, where experts provide inpatient treatment facilities to improve and manage your mental well-being. They help you find the optimal treatment while ensuring your safety.
2. Eat a healthy Diet
The food you eat can affect how well your brain functions and how it responds to stressors. So, it is important to remember that what you eat may affect both physical and mental health.
A “brain-healthy” diet includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and high-quality fats like nuts (which are high in omega-3 fatty acids). It also includes plenty of protein—the building blocks of cells—which helps maintain neuron functions.
Avoid processed foods as much as possible as these contain chemicals called trans fats, which increase inflammation within our bodies, causing neurodegeneration.
Drink plenty of water daily – this helps flush toxins from the body naturally without medication which may cause side effects such as weight gain.
3. Exercise Regularly
Exercise can help improve your sleep and mood. Taking care of your body is also important because it helps with depression, anxiety, and stress.
You can exercise every day or just twice a week if you have time constraints or are new to exercise. But make sure that you do not work out too hard because this could cause injury, leading to post-exercise soreness (PES).
Many people with mental illness have found that exercise has helped them manage their symptoms and live better lives. So, exercise regularly – even 10 minutes per day will do wonders for your body!
Mindfulness refers to a mental state achieved by focusing on the present moment and calmly acknowledging your feelings, emotions, and bodily sensations. Mindfulness helps us to be more aware of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
Mindfulness can be practiced through yoga or tai chi. You can also do deep breathing exercises and focus on an object in front of you or simply try to relax.
5. Tame Social media Usage
With the advent of technology, people are increasingly becoming disconnected from their friends and family. Social media is both a blessing and a curse for young people. You can stay connected with old friends, but you also lose out on the new experiences that come along with meeting new people face-to-face in real life.
Studies have shown that people who spend more time on Facebook than other social networks are more likely to experience depression or anxiety because they feel disconnected from reality. Try replacing social media by:
- Reading and writing
- Playing games with your kids
- Listening to good music
- Watching enjoyable content
6. Practice Gratitude
Gratitude is the act of being thankful or appreciative. Practice gratitude to improve mental health by focusing on the good things in life rather than dwelling on what you do not have (which will lead to anxiety).
Being grateful for everything in your life helps improve your mental health because you are more likely to feel better about yourself.
Gratitude can also help improve physical health by reducing stress levels which will decrease blood pressure and improve heart rate variability (HRV).
7. Get Quality Sleep
Quality sleep plays a crucial part in enhancing your mental health. It affects your ability to learn new things and retain information. According to the National Sleep Foundation Recommendations, you need 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Sleep deprivation can cause:
- Decreased memory and cognitive function
- Increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other conditions related to high blood pressure
- Increased risk of accidents or injuries
8. Make Social Connections
Social connection is important for our mental health. Studies have shown that social support is one of the strongest predictors of our physical health, and it can be just as powerful in improving our mental well-being.
The ability to form and maintain meaningful relationships with others has been linked with lower anxiety and depression levels and better overall health outcomes such as longevity and lower mortality rates.
Here are some tips:
- Take time each day to connect with friends or family members
- Talk about your feelings and emotions
9. Make Time to Relax
Relaxation is a natural stress response, and it is vital to healthy brain function.
The best way to relax is by taking a break from stressful situations and spending time in nature—preferably somewhere where you can hear birds chirping instead of traffic horns honking at full volume.
You can also try listening to relaxing music or doing something else (like reading). You can also practice yoga or meditation regularly; these activities help increase blood flow so that stress hormones are less likely to build up during unfavorable circumstances!
Maintaining your mental health in this hectic world can be challenging, but eventually, it is worth it.
Many lifestyle changes can improve mental health, even if your life seems to be taking a turn for the worst. Remember, a healthy body equals a healthy mind!
So, if you want to improve your mental health, try these tips today!