There is a vast difference between 'mind' and 'body.' Yet, when considering mental health and physical health, the two cannot be viewed as separate. Poor mental health has adverse effects on the outcomes of a person's life. Mental illness varies from anxiety and depression to eating disorders and schizophrenia, varying greatly in problem and severity. Any given mental disorder may affect your body's ability to work correctly and may even decrease life expectancy.
When one is suffering from psychological issues; be it stress, anxiety, or depression, the brain sends signals to the body differently. For example, in stressful conditions, some hormonal disturbances occur. This is because our body runs on the command of our brain, which is our mental health.
The irregular activity of neurotransmitters in the brain occurs during mental disturbances that can cause chronic fatigue, hormonal imbalance, heart disease, asthma attack, rise in blood pressure, insomnia, obesity, increased sensitivity to aches and pains, and so on. Thus, it is essential to manage mental health.
Here are the five ways to manage your mental health better:
1. Stay active
Inculcating active lifestyle is one of the best ways to stay mentally healthy. Exercise is essential for reducing age-related cognitive decline and promoting well-being. Also, regular physical activity has proven to lower depression and anxiety levels in all age groups. This is because exercise can release happy brain chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin, which can relieve stress and anxiety. Thus, choose a plan or workout type that works for you. This can be aerobic interval training, or a more aware and purpose-driven yoga practice or something in between. What's important is that you stick to it. Even a quick 10-minute fast burst of walking increases mental alertness, vitality, and an optimistic mood. Do the following:
• Exercise every day for 30 minutes.
• Do yoga and meditation.
• Start participating in local sports activities.
• Resist the temptation to stay glued to the screens all the time.
2. Good nutrition
A good diet keeps us mentally and physically healthy. Proper nutrition is an essential factor in influencing how we feel. A healthy diet is one of the good protein levels, essential fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water. The food we eat can affect the growth, treatment, and prevention of various mental health problems, including depression and Alzheimer's.
The brain needs nutrition to stay healthy like our body. The hippocampus is a brain region that, in a process called neurogenesis, produces new neurons. Research has shown that hippocampal neurogenesis is related to mood and cognition of an individual. Stress or diets high in fat, sugar, and alcohol can reduce neurogenesis. This may cause some mental illness. Even it is noted that a hungry mind can quickly get angry or frustrated.
Make the following dietary changes;
• Increase intake of vitamins, especially Vitamin D- vitamin D, has receptors in the brain that enhance mood and keep depression away.
• Stay hydrated all the time.
• Try to include nuts, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, and healthy fats, like avocados, into your meals.
• Avoid skipping meals,
• Avoid excessive sugary foods.
3. Get enough sleep
Sleep plays a major role in the maintenance of mental and physical health. Sleep and mental wellbeing are closely linked- living with a mental health condition will affect how well you sleep, and bad sleep will negatively impact your mental health. Sleep is as important as eating, drinking, and respiring for our wellbeing. It helps our bodies and brains rebuild themselves and restore our memories and process knowledge.
Weak sleep is associated with physical issues such as a compromised immune system and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. This happens because sleep deprivation causes brain cells to slow down and causes some hormonal changes.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests that adults should get an average of 7-9 hours of sleep every night to stay healthy. If you have trouble having enough night sleep,
• Do some relaxation exercise.
• Start using proper pillow and matrices.
• Set a bedtime routine.
• Reduce the caffeine consumption.
• Don't use screens at the bedside.
4. Spending time with nature:
Nature has relaxing effects on the mind. Nature’s beauty and serenity build a sense of calm, which one would not usually find in busy urban environments. Research shows that a pleasant environment can minimize stress and, in turn, its impacts on the body. Everything we see, hear, and feel at any given moment affects our mood and conducts our nervous, endocrine, and immune systems function.
Being in nature, or just watching natural scenes, decreases frustration, anxiety, and tension and increases positive feelings. Spending time in the natural environment can positively affect our well-being and decrease blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and stress hormone output. It has long been recognized that spending time in nature is also one of the most powerful ways to minimize stress and mental exhaustion regularly.
The following is recommended;
• Going out and walking barefoot on grass. It helps control the nervous system, improve immunity, and reduce stress and anxiety sensations.
• Every day get some sunlight for 15 to 20 minutes.
• Spend weekends at natural, open places.
• Take some break from routine life and travel to explore the beauty of nature.
5. Ask for a support
Asking support or help from friends or relatives is not a bad thing at all. Many people still believe that asking for help is a weakness, but it is a strength. One of the crucial ways to stay mentally stable is to understand your feelings well and ask for assistance. When you feel low or depressed, talk with a loved one as it can prevent further damage. Keeping things in mind will only exaggerate the situation. Everyone has some kind of problems in life, but communication with loved ones can make life easier to deal with.
If you cannot talk with anyone or even after talking things remain as it is, you should speak to your GP.
Personal wellbeing, interpersonal relationships, family bonding, and the ability to contribute to community or society are based on good mental health. Thus, adopting a lifestyle that helps you maintain good mental health and remove negative aspects from life are necessary to live life successfully.