Guest post provided by Everyday Investing in You
What is Mental Health
Mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It is important throughout our every stage of life. Our mental health affects how we think, feel and behave.
During this time of pandemic where some of us have lost our jobs or have had our income reduced, the impact of reduced earnings can definitely take a toll on our mental health. For others, the reduction of interaction with our work colleagues can negatively impact one’s mental well-being. Not to mention that some of us are staying in a cramped house with many people living under the same household. The lack of private space and different living styles can certainly create friction between household members..
According to Pinerest, mental illnesses affect 19% of the adult population, 46% of teenagers and 13% of children each year. This shows that no one is spared from the statistics. Getting depression, stress and anxiety can affect anyone.
Why is Mental Health Important
Mental health is important because it impacts our thoughts, behaviors and emotions. Being mentally healthy plays an important part in forming healthy relationships, and allows us to adapt to changes in our life and cope with adversity.
It is feeling confident in yourself, having healthy relationships, having a sense of purpose and being able to live and work productively. Cope with the normal stress of daily life and manage when things change is another aspect of having a healthy mental well-being.
How to Improve your Mental Well-Being
Many studies have shown that exercising has multiple benefits from improving physical health to improving our brain’s strength and releasing endorphins. You don’t necessarily have to spend a huge amount of time doing exercises – simply setting aside 15 minutes each day is good enough to burn calories and build strength. Recommended exercises that one can easily perform include yoga, deep stretching, going for a walk and static exercises. They can be performed by almost anyone without taking up too much space and equipment.
Eating the Right Foods
Besides exercising, we also need to be mindful about the food we put into our body. Foods that can reduce anxiety include
- Nuts such as almonds, pistachios, and walnuts
- Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, and herring that are high in omega-3
- Dark chocolate
- Herbal tea such as chamomile, green tea
- Probiotics such as yogurt, fermented foods, including kombucha and miso
- Whole grains such as whole rye, buckwheat, and brown rice
- Citrus fruits such oranges, grapefruits, and strawberries
Getting Sufficient Sleep
According to doctors, sleep deprivation can affect our mental health. Sleep disruption can wreak havoc in our brain, affecting our thinking and emotions. The deepest stage of quiet sleep produces physiological changes that help boost immune system functioning. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep enhances learning and memory, and contributes to emotional health. Healthy adults require between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night.
To ensure good quality rest for a healthy mind, doctors suggest creating and improving our sleep hygiene. They include
- Sticking to the same sleep schedule every day, even on weekends
- Practicing a relaxing pre-bed routine to make it easier to fall asleep quickly such as listening to calming music and putting away electronic devices
- Minimizing potential disruptions from light and sound. Ensure the temperature in your bedroom is optimised for sleeping.
- Carefully monitoring your intake of caffeine and alcohol and trying to avoid consuming them in the hours before bed
Listening to Music
Listening to music can make us feel better, reduce stress and improve concentration. Be it slow tempo to loud, head banging music, pick music that suits you and your mood. Listening to good songs are subjective and there are countless song pieces to choose from. Invest in a good pair of headphones that can accompany you on your rides, workouts or to simply listen to at home. A study by Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson of Mindlab International has shown instrumental, classical or ambient music can help reduce anxiety by up to 65%.
Taking care of our mental health is as important as our physical health. It is important to be healthy inside out. Don’t be afraid to seek professional’s help if you think you require it. It is only when we admit our vulnerabilities that only we can improve from there.