Mental Health Check - 5 easy ways you can help improve your mental health
You might be wondering, “what does my mental health have to do with my physical fitness? I do my workouts and all my other daily activities just fine!”
It might interest you to know, your mental health is a crucial part of your entire well-being and it is imperative that you take care of it just as you take care of your body and your physical health. When you look after your mental health, you will be capable of living a better life, have more fun, and exercise better. Not just this; sound mental health could mean enhanced relationships with your friends, family and your colleagues.
Put Simply, Mental Health Matters!
Mental health issues affect your ability to participate in daily activities and to remain physically healthy. The consequences of ill mental health can negatively impact your physical health, leading to an increased risk of certain conditions.
Studies have shown a link with mental health issues affecting physical health. A good example would be; a person suffering from depression and anxiety would have a problem of falling asleep which in turn would severely affect that person’s physical health and wellbeing. Therefore, it is extremely important to focus on both mental and physical health to remain fit and happy.
Here are 5 ways you can improve your mental health and well-being:
- Exercise - That's right! You need to exercise frequently and be physically active. Exercise promotes the release of endorphins into your body which help you feel good. Look for ways to increase your daily activity and you will notice how much better you feel. Go for a walk, a run, swim, cycle or hit the gym! Find a physical activity that you love and keep doing it.
- Diet - Implementing a proper diet will help you nourish your body and mind. What you eat matters the most. Foods rich in carbs increase serotonin, a chemical that has been shown to have a calming effect on your mood. Fruits and veggies are a must as they are filled with nutrients that feed every cell of your body, some of which are helpful in elevating your mood. Protein rich food is responsible for enhancing dopamine and tyrosine levels that would help you remain alert. And the most important nutrient for your brain, Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, they are vital as they restore structural integrity of the brain cells, getting the correct balance of each food type as part of a healthy diet will have a huge impact on your mental health.
- Connect with people around you - Good relationships are crucial for your mental health as they provide emotional support and allow you to support others. Not only that, but connecting with people helps build a sense of purpose and belonging. Pick up the phone, go for a walk with a friend, sharing your thoughts and listening to others can lift a weight off your mind.
- Do something for someone else! - There are studies that show how giving to people around you help you boost your self-esteem. This would not only make them happy, but it would improve how you feel about yourself. Do something nice for someone, make them happy. Volunteer your time or join a community group.
- Sleep and wake on time - “Early to bed, early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise.” This isn’t just a saying but a fact! Research has shown how sleep can improve your mood the next day and deprivation can lead to negative mood or mood swings. Try to go to bed early each day. A 7-8 hour sleep is a must to be able to have a nice and productive day. Studies have shown that sleeping for less than 7 hours has a significant impact on your physical performance, cognitive function and time to physical exhaustion. Practice good sleeping habits and you will see a change in your mood and overall mental health.
Finally, remember that everyone is different and dealing with their mental health in their own ways so be respectful. Do your best to be kind to those around you, offer support to your friends and family, engage with the people around you, find things that make you smile.