5 Areas Directly Linked with your Mental Health
Have you experienced imbalanced before? You know when you go weeks without sleep, or several days of eating fast food? Never a good feeling. Our actions not only affect our physical health but also our mental health tremendously. People who have tendencies to fall into intense anxiety, depression, and other conditions may aggravate their symptoms when not maintaining balance the following areas:
For many years, the medical field did not acknowledge the connection between food and mood. According to the Mental Health Foundation close to two thirds of those who do not report mental health problems eat fresh foods compared with less than half of those who do report daily mental health problems (1). One of the contributing factors has to do with Serotonin which is mainly produced in your gastrointestinal tract. Serotonin is responsible for regulating your sleep, your appetite, moods, and even pain. The production of serotonin is influenced by the “good” bacteria that is in your gut and therefore maintaining a adequate balance of good bacteria in your gut is key. This can be achieved by eating vegetables, legumes, beans, fruits, fermented foods, and maintain a low sugar diet. Good bacteria is responsible for providing a barrier against toxins, limiting inflammation, and the absorption of nutrients allowing your brain to gain access to premium fuel! See our post about the top 3 supplements every person needs!
Well we all know that we can survive longer with out food than we can without water. Water represents a critical nutrient whose absence will be lethal within days(2). The lack of water can influence cognition, and even disruptions in mood including fatigue, confusion, anger and vigor (3). Since coffee and soda's do not count, see our post about how to flavor your H20 - NATURALLY!
The link between exercise and mood is noticeably strong. If you have gone on a walk, or run after a stressful situation you have probably experienced what I am referring to. According to the American Psychological Association, the effects of physical activity extend beyond the short-term and research shoes that it can even help alleviate long-term depression. There are professionals who do use exercise as part of treatment, but what is still in question is what specific exercises are the best!
This one is easy, and it is likely you have experienced the consequences of lack of sleep - it does not take much. I know that for me after not sleeping well for 2-3 days my irritability and sensitivity increases. Not only does it affect me emotionally but also suppresses my immune system leaving me prone to sickness. Rest and sleep is something that we need to nourish and protect, though it may not seem important it is how our body recovers. When we sleep our body is going through physiological changes that help boost immune system functioning, our ability to learn, our memory and even contribute to our emotional health. Read about 3 simple steps you can take to promote a good night rest and tell us what you think!
Our culture glorifies self-care and self-love but it often fails to mention that a big part of learning and knowing how to love ourselves and others comes from spending time with others. Spending time with others can boost your brain health, reduce your risk for mental illness, extend your life, and even lower your risk for dementia. Psychology today published an article stating that social engagement is associated with a stronger immune system, boosting feelings of well-being and also decreasing feelings of depression. Though you may feel nervous to go to social events and make new friends, you will see that all the risks are worth it when you find your tribe and community (4).
DISCLAIMER: This general information is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional.