Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Lifestyle Factors that could be Affecting your Mental Health.



{Collaborative content} Whether you are currently struggling with your mental health or you’re interested in doing whatever you can to protect your mental health in the future, you may want to start by looking at your lifestyle. Although much of mental illness is unavoidable, there is a significant lifestyle factor at play in many cases of poor mental health and doing what you can to improve the way you live from day to day can really help.

With that in mind, here are some of the key lifestyle factors that could be harming your mental health:

Low activity levels

We all know that exercise is good for our physical health and wellbeing, but did you know it is just as important for your mental health too? Exercise has been found to be an effective way of treating depression, often working as well as medication, and since it is free and does not come with any side-effects...well apart from a few aching muscles maybe, it is a great thing to incorporate into your daily schedule.

Ideally, you should try to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day to get those endorphins pumping, but that doesn’t mean you have to sweat it at the gym - a brisk walk can be just as effective if not more so since time in nature has been shown to improve mental wellbeing too. Try a few things and see what works for you; the more likely you are to stick with an exercise the better it will be for you.

Smoking

A lot of people who are struggling with their mental health use smoking as a crutch. It helps to distract them and gives them something to do, which is perhaps why around half of all mental illness sufferers are smokers. However, smoking is really not a good way to go when you’re having trouble with your mental health. Various research over the years has shown that giving up smoking can improve your mental health within a matter of weeks.

Of course, quitting smoking is hard and when you’re already feeling unwell, adding the extra stress to your life can seem like too much to bear, which is why you may want to take it slow by first cutting down, vaping or seeking specialist help to get you off the cigarettes. If you really don’t think you can manage it right now, wait until you’re in a better headspace and tackle it then. Removing those nasty toxins from your body will not only boost your mood, but it will benefit your physical health, lowering your risk of heart disease and lung cancer, amongst other things, significantly.


Drinking excessively

There is nothing wrong with having a drink or two here and there, but many people who are struggling with their mental health start to self-medicate with alcohol, drinking more than the recommended weekly amount, and increasing their consumption as their mental health gets worse. The thing is, the alcohol is almost certainly contributing to their worsening mental health.

As you will probably know, alcohol effects the brain in a variety of ways. Unfortunately, it can increase feelings of stress anxiety and depression by depleting the brain and body of vital nutrients. It’s also pretty easy to become dependant on it, which can cause fatigue, depression, physical illness and so many bad things. If you drink too much, and you think it’s becoming a problem, you may want to see your doctor or look into local alcohol rehab facilities. If it hasn’t gotten to that point, but you tend to use alcohol as a crutch, try replacing it with a healthier behaviour such as exercise, reading, or seeing friends. Alcohol in moderation is fine, but drinking to excess won’t help at all.

Poor diet

Your diet doesn’t just dictate your weight or physical health - it has a direct impact on your mental wellbeing too. If you eat lots of unhealthy processed meals, sweets, crisps, and stuff that has a low nutrient value, not only will you feel sluggish and unfit, but you’ll probably feel mentally low tool.

If you want to eat for better mental health, you should focus on consuming healthy homemade meals with a focus on whole foods. You should also ensure that you get plenty of Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, which can be found in oily fish, avocados, walnuts and tofu amongst other things. These fatty acids are known to feed the brain and boost mental health when eaten regularly. They’re also pretty delicious as part of a healthy balanced meal.

People who are feeling down can also be tempted to skip meals or overindulge, but both of these ways of eating can make symptoms worse. It’s far better to eat three healthy balanced meals each day with a couple of healthy snacks such as nuts, carrot sticks or fruit, in between if you need them.

Poor physical health

Unfortunately, if you suffer from poor physical health, you are more likely to struggle with your mental health too. This is understandable because things like chronic pain can be difficult to manage and hard to cope with. Not only that, but infections can cause stress and other mental health symptoms too. That is why it is so important that you do not neglect your physical health. As soon as you notice any issues with your health, see a pharmacist, doctor or appropriate healthcare professional and do what you can to manage/treat them as soon as possible to start feeling better fast.

Toxic relationships

Toxic relationships can shatter your mental health. If you’re in a relationship - romantic or not - with an individual who puts you down all the time, makes you feel bad about yourself, gaslights you, etc., do what you can to get out and get safe as soon as possible. If you don’t, you could have years of stress, anxiety and depression ahead of you. Put yourself first and severe ties with the toxic people in your life.


Spending too much time online

The internet is a wonderful resource and there is absolutely nothing wrong with using it on a regular basis. But, if you spend all of your time online looking at models on Instagram or comparing yourself to your friends on Facebook, your self-esteem is going to take a hit and you’ll probably end up feeling quite low. So, turn off the phone more often, have a social media break or only follow accounts that make you feel good about yourself and see how much better you feel as a result.

Not getting enough sleep

If you don’t get enough sleep, your physical and mental health will suffer. Sleep experts say that anything between 7 and 9 hours is enough for the average adult and that is a figure you should aspire to because going to bed and getting up at the same time each day helps to regulate your circadian rhythm, This can help you to recover faster from physical illnesses, and more importantly, it gives your mind and body the time it needs to rest and repair, so you’re less likely to feel anxious, stressed or depressed when you get up in the morning.

You don’t make time for meditation

Some people tout meditation as a miracle cure for all that ails you and although that isn’t close to being true, it is fair to say that a regular meditation practice can be hugely beneficial to your mental health. When you meditate, you learn to take things in your stride more. You learn how to stop ruminating on the negative, focus more on the positive, and even how to give yourself a break from thinking full-stop. What’s not to love?


There’s no substitute for good mental health care, but these lifestyle changes could make a significant difference to your health and wellbeing.

No comments:

Post a comment

I absolutely love it when someone leaves me a comment, I will always reply back when possible! You can also follow me on twitter for more beautiful chatter: @Helsy_1983