By Sana Rubiana
When we ask for help with a mental health condition, we can expect to hear about different medications and treatment options, but often what is missing from the conversation is a discussion of lifestyle changes. Simple things like nutrition and exercise can have a significant effect on Quality of life, for some of us, but especially for those who are dealing with problems such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. They can also help reduce the development of risk factors that can lead to conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension, all of which are more likely to lead to mental illness.
If you are dealing with a mental health challenge, take the initiative to talk to your doctor. Ask specifically what you can safely change in your daily life to improve your mental health; There is no single answer. But research has shown that lifestyle changes are also a key to prevention and recovery.
Change your diet
Numerous studies have shown that what we eat affects our emotions. The foods we eat can affect our concentration, memory, alertness and mood. This is because different foods contain different nutrients that affect what hormones our bodies produce, as well as how they are released and synthesized in our system. Less nutritious foods such as processed foods, fast food and sweets can all damage mental health.
Good nutrition can also prevent or at least slow down the deterioration of cognitive function associated with conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. It is recommended to eat foods rich in Vitamin B, Iron, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron to increase the efficiency of the brain.
In addition to weight management and physical health, exercise offers protective benefits to your mental health. A study from the National Institutes of Health found that aerobic exercise reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Gaseous activity includes:
Evidence suggests 45 minutes of exercise duration 3-5 days a week to be optimal for good mental health.
Get adequate sleep
The Australian Sleep Health Foundation recommends 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night for adults. A regular sleep cycle is created by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Good sleep habits can improve mental health, which makes it easier to recover after an illness and may lead to less difficult challenges.
Keep a journal
Expressing yourself by keeping a record of your thoughts and how you are feeling can be a healthy way to deal with stress. Start keeping a journal and use it to identify your triggers. You can even go back to it from time to time to reflect on your progress, which helps keep you motivated.
Get a hobby
Find something that you enjoy doing that challenges you emotionally or physically or both. Outdoor activities are better because they will help you to socialize more and meet new people. Learning a new skill or mastering an old one can help you feel more proud and accomplished.
Take time to relax
Relaxation has been shown to help with mental health. Daily meditation, deep breathing or meditation can help us to manage our emotions better.
Every once in a while, it’s important to break away from the world to give yourself time to reflect, think and plan for your future. Introspection can help you become self-aware and resilient. Turn off the computer and unplug from social media from time to time. Appreciate the nature and world around you and think about how far you have come or what goals you want to achieve.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. How you feel and see the world affects your personality, actions and decisions. It is important to take steps to improve mental health and make lifestyle changes that will ensure your well-being and overall health.
(The author is a counseling psychologist, Fortis Hospital, Richmond Road, Bangalore. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult a medical professional and health professional before starting any therapy, medication and / or remedies. Opinions expressed are not personal and reflected in FinancialExpress. com’s official position or policy.)