You are what you eat – but how does your diet and lifestyle affect your mental health? Here are some surprising ways that it does.
When you know someone who is struggling with getting their mental health on track, or you are going through it yourself, it can be difficult to give a definite solution, since there are so many varieties and options out there. It is easy to feel confused and overwhelmed by all the options.
Greater levels of stress come from simply calculating the costs of medication, therapy, or hospitalization – especially if the case is severe.
The thing is, mental health problems are actual health problems, so you cannot sweep it under the rug and pretend it does not exist. You also cannot treat the illnesses using lifestyle changes alone – however, there are certain factors in your lifestyle and diet you can change. When you use them in conjunction with the treatment options, rapid changes will follow.
Your activity and exercise levels
Okay, by this point you may have heard an infinite number of times that you need to create an exercise routine and stick to it, but the truth is exercise does not just protect your physical health and control your weight (even though that is a good thing).
It also gives extra protection of your mental health status. In fact, experts and scientific research agrees that exercise is so important because of its after effects; which are as powerful as taking an anti-depressant. In addition, it also helps to reduce pain in your muscles, so this makes it an ideal solution for people who have issues with their mobility or suffer from chronic pain.
However, it is also important to remember that there are no ‘magic’ amounts of exercise that will cure depression or other mental health issues. Instead of focusing on specific amounts, one should instead focus on as much activity as possible, for instance opting to walk to destinations instead of driving, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. This will gradually help to improve your moods.
Drug habits (especially smoking)
Drugs and mental illness are more alike than you may realize. Take this for example – almost 50 percent of individuals suffering from issues of mental health are all smokers. This is contrary to what medical professionals thought in years past – that smoking would help the person reduce the intensity of their symptoms, so they did not pressure the person to quit.
While quitting itself is a challenge, and it may even result in downturns in your mental health – it is beneficial in the long term, results often showing in a matter of weeks, so quitting is among the best decisions you can make. Drugs introduce a wide range of toxins in your body, which may have a big contribution to mood problems. In addition, the various health complications that are brought on by drug abuse can result in challenges with your mental health as well as mood problems.
What you eat
Your diet has a major role to play in your physical health, and your mental health – at least indirectly. If your diet is mostly made up foods with low nutriment value – such as processed foods, snacks and sweet treats – then they will undermine your efforts to maintain good mental health.
However, what foods can boost your health? Taking foods that are rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, in addition to plant fats like those of avocadoes, can boost your moods and brain power. If you have a sweet tooth, there is good news for you too – dark chocolate is a healthier snack than white chocolate, so you can indulge in that too.
Your physical health
It is not possible to separate your body and mind – when one is affected, so is the other. If you are struggling with your physical health, chances are high you will struggle with your mental health as well, due to factors such as stress.
For instance, struggling with an infection of your bladder, cancer, or even toothaches can undermine the ability to handle the pain and discomfort, so make sure you receive quick medical help when you have problems with your physical health. Problems with the endocrine system can also result in anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
The effects of abuse
Any family environment that i9s unhealthyand includes any type of abuse will make it very difficult to achieve good mental health, regardless of whether it is verbal, physical, emotional, psychological or sexual. Abuse can linger in the mind for very many years, even long after the situation is over – and some victims can even develop other mental conditions such as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
When you are suffering from abuse, the first step you should take is looking for a way out, and second thing is never to deal with it alone. Always make sure you seek help, so that you can move on with your life.
Social activities and friendships
No man is an island – and that statement rings true, no matter where you come from. You know very well that when you have a friend to lean on during the tough times, life gets easier and more bearable, and that also includes your mental health.
In fact, research is showing the value of friendship on an increasing scale. The more isolated you are, the more likely you are to suffer from mental health issues – and even a single weekend with those you love will lift your mood for many days. In addition, involving yourself in charity initiatives and giving back to the community helps you feel a greater connection with something greater than yourself, and it teaches you that there is more to life out there.
The impo0rtant thing is to get to the level of socialization that helps you get more comfortable, and making sure you spend more time with others who help you become the best you can be. Chances are higher you will feel better after spending time with those you love.
Mental health is not an issue you can just deal with using medication and therapy alone – there are other factors that might affect your mood much more than you realize, yet you are most likely unaware of them.