In today’s world, more and more people are becoming aware of how important mental health is. People have long been aware of the need to take care of their physical health, and now there’s been a shift to mental health— without a total disregard for physical health.
However, some may not know where to start when it comes to caring for their mental health. In fact, there are many ways to care for mental health, and taking care of your overall health has an impact on mental health. Here are four ways to take better care of your mental health.
#1: Eat a Healthy and Balanced Diet
Many mental health problems are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, which requires medication. However, the nutrients in certain foods can have a positive (and negative) effect on the brain, and in turn, mental health. A healthy and balanced diet can look like this:
- Complex carbohydrates (whole grains, vegetables, beans)
- Healthy fats (avocados, dark chocolate, olive oil)
- Protein (eggs, fatty fish, lean beef and poultry, nuts)
Of course, specific diets will vary among individuals and you should consult with a healthcare professional for the best diet for you. However, everyone can benefit from drinking enough water and consuming an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals. It’s also beneficial to limit your intake of alcohol, fatty (saturated) foods, fried foods, processed foods, and sugary foods.
#2: Let Your Feelings Out in a Healthy Way
Keeping feelings bottled up can cause great emotional stress that negatively affects mental and physical health. There are many ways to express your feelings, but one of the most common ways is through therapy. Therapy— talk therapy specifically— has numerous benefits, with one being a way to help navigate one’s thoughts and feelings.
Other healthy ways to let out your feelings include listening to music, making art, and writing in a journal. Coincidentally, these creative releases are also different types of nontraditional therapies: music therapy, art therapy, and writing therapy, respectively. Choose one or more of these methods to help take care of the emotional part of your mental health.
#3: Make Sure that You’re Exercising
For physical health, it’s recommended that you get 150 minutes of exercise per week, but exercising regularly can also help improve mental health because several “feel-good” hormones are released during physical activity. These hormones include:
- Dopamine (pleasure hormone)
- Endorphins (pain-killing and stress relieving hormone)
- Oxytocin (love hormone)
- Serotonin (happy hormone)
“Exercise” can mean anything from running every day to walking in the park every other morning. Lifting weights counts as exercise, but so does dancing. Everyone is at different levels and abilities when it comes to physical activity, so you should do what’s most comfortable for you. Other examples of exercise include aerobic exercises, including yoga and pilates.
#4: Target the Cause of Mental Health Issues
The first three ways to take care of mental health are very useful, but if you have an actual mental health disorder, you need to target the cause of the issue. As mentioned earlier, chemical imbalances in the brain can cause mental health issues (specifical depression), but mental health problems can also be caused by stressful life situations (such as financial problems or a loss) and traumatic events (such as war and abuse). Abuse victims should seek help from both a lawyer (Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers) and a psychotherapist.
Sometimes there is no clear cause of a mental health problem, or one can develop due to a family history of mental illness. Whether a cause can be determined or not, all mental health issues should be treated. This can be through medication, psychotherapy, any of the tips listed above, or a combination of different strategies.
Keep in mind that mental illness can look different in different people, and what may work for one particular person may not work for another with the same issue. Each treatment plan should be tailored to each individual to get the best results. Multiple methods may need to be used before an effective solution is found.
Taking care of your mental health should be viewed in the same way as taking care of your physical health: proactive instead of reactive. You shouldn’t wait until a traumatic event to see a therapist (although you probably should if you’ve already experienced a traumatic event)— you can start seeing one right now. In the same way, a doctor can help you prevent physical illnesses, a mental health professional can help prevent mental illnesses.
For more information, visit whatsmind.com