The irritability you feel when you’re hungry, the grouchiness when you’re tired, and the sadness a physical ailment can cause are all examples of how your physical health can negatively impact your mental state. When you don’t feel well, it’s hard to feel happy.
It’s not just mental health problems that originate from physical imbalances either. Chronic stress is linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and digestive problems. Because our mind and body are intimately connected, they influence each other.
So, to improve one’s mental health, it is essential to focus on overall wellness. Here are some aspects that link our body and mind that you can work on to improve your mental well-being:
- If you’re dealing with an addiction
We all go through emotional downtimes and life transitions, but sometimes these experiences can trigger addiction.
People who don’t have the tools to cope with difficult emotions may turn to drugs or alcohol to escape. Unfortunately, it can become a vicious cycle as the substances people use to cope with their feelings make them feel worse.
Alcoholism causes liver damage, cancer, and heart disease. It’s also a depressant, exacerbating feelings of sadness and loneliness. Similarly, drug addiction can cause a series of physical problems. Decreased immunity, abnormal heart rates, and abdominal pain are just a few. As for mental health, paranoia, anxiety, and depression are common.
So, to improve your mental health, you must address any addiction issues you may have. The only way to about it is to get professional help and start your recovery journey. If you’re looking for a treatment facility, check out www.delphihealthgroup.com and get the help you need to get started.
- Through regular exercise
The physical benefits of regular exercise are well-documented. From increased lung capacity to improved brain function, there are countless reasons to make time for physical activity.
But are you aware that exercise can also profoundly impact mental health? When you feel more energized and physically fit, you’re also more likely to feel better emotionally.
Exercise releases mood boosters that interact with the receptors in your brain to relieve feelings of pain or sadness temporarily. Exercise has also been shown to help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
What’s more, the benefits of exercise are not just short-term. You’ll notice a boost in your self-esteem and confidence in the long run.
You don’t have to lift weights or do rounds on the treadmill to reap the benefits of exercise, either. A brisk walk in your neighborhood or playing with your kids at the park can also help improve your mental well-being.
- Through your diet
The food we eat directly impacts how we feel physically and mentally. Consuming a nutritious diet helps improve energy levels, cognitive function, and mood. Conversely, an unhealthy diet can lead to weight gain, fatigue, and feelings of depression.
When it comes to mental health, certain nutrients are especially important.
Omega-3 fatty acids, for example, are essential for brain health. They’ve been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce inflammation. You can find omega-3s in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna.
Another nutrient that’s important for mental health is magnesium. This mineral helps regulate mood, sleep, and energy levels. It can also help reduce anxiety and depression. You can find magnesium in dark leafy greens, nuts, and seeds. You can also get it from supplements.
- Your sleep cycle
We all realize the importance of a good night’s sleep for physical health. It helps you recover from the day, recharge your batteries, and feel refreshed in the morning. But the mental benefits of sleep are just as important.
When you shut your eyes at night, your brain is hard at work. It’s busy processing the day’s events, solidifying memories, and restoring balance to your hormones.
Without enough sleep, you’re more likely to feel anxious, irritable, and stressed. You may also have trouble concentrating, making decisions, and solving problems. In severe cases, sleep deprivation can lead to hallucinations and delusions. These mental conditions can cause you to act out in ways that are harmful to yourself and others.
It is why experts recommend that adults get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, there are a few things you can do to improve your sleep hygiene.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine. Take a bath, read an interesting book, or do light stretching.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. Both of these substances can disrupt sleep.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool to create the ideal environment for sleep.
- By practicing mindfulness
Mindfulness is a form of meditation that involves paying attention to the present moment. You become more aware of your surroundings and your inner thoughts and feelings.
Mindfulness has several benefits for mental health.
- Reduced Stress and Anxiety
One study found that mindfulness meditation can help reduce stress and anxiety. The participants in the study who practiced mindfulness meditation had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
- Improved Focus and Concentration
Another study found that mindfulness meditation can help improve focus and concentration. The participants who practiced mindfulness meditation were better able to focus on a task and had less mind wandering.
- Reduced Rumination
Rumination is a type of thinking that’s repetitive and negative. It’s when you can’t stop thinking about something that’s stressing you out. Rumination can lead to anxiety and depression.
Plus, mindfulness can physically change the brain. A study found that people who practice mindfulness meditation have increased gray matter in the hippocampus. It is the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory. They also had increased gray matter in the areas of the brain that control emotion regulation and stress response.
- Through stress management
Stress surrounds us like an invisible cloud. It’s in the air we breathe and hard to escape. But what exactly is stress?
Stress is our body’s response to any demand. It could be an upcoming deadline at work, a fight with a friend, or even something as small as getting stuck in traffic. Our body’s sympathetic nervous system kicks into gear when we perceive a threat. It is also known as the “fight or flight” response. This response is designed to protect us from danger. It gives us a burst of energy so we can either face a threat or get away from it.
But the problem is that our body can’t always distinguish between a real threat and a perceived one. So, even though we’re not in danger, our body still responds as if we are. As a result, it can lead to mental and physical problems.
That’s why it’s crucial to find ways to manage stress.
One way to do this is with deep breathing. Deep breathing activates the body’s parasympathetic nervous system. It is also known as the “rest and digest” response. This response slows our heart rate and makes us feel more relaxed.
The gist is that if you want to improve your mental health, you must focus on your overall well-being. From getting enough rest to managing stress, you can do several things to improve your mental health.
But it all starts with taking care of yourself. When you take care of yourself, you’re better equipped to handle whatever life throws your way. So make sure you’re doing things that make you happy and help you relax.