5 easy steps that can help you improve your mental health

15 Aug 2018
POSTED BY Y Magazine

Staying healthy means keeping both our minds and bodies in sync. Illnesses like depression can lead to diseases such as diabetes so it’s up to us to reduce the risk factor. Here, Y goes to the heart of the problem. 

We all have days when we can’t get it together, and don’t feel like doing anything even if we could.  Is it a ‘bad hair’ day? Are you feeling sluggish, with listless limbs? If this is you then don’t panic. It’s normal.  Anything from a low mood to a more serious condition can stop us in our tracks not only mentally but physically as well. Fortunately, mental health issues are being discussed more openly than ever before.  But their effects on our physical well-being are now also being addressed. And according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Mental Health Disorders Fact Sheet for 2018, 433 million people worldwide experience some form of cognitive, mental, and social impairment. 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that “[mental illness] is associated with chronic medical diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity”.

However, if behavioral health problems are dealt with successfully, the effects of mental illness and chronic diseases can be minimised. These goals can be achieved by tackling some of the barriers that prevent good mental health.  It could be a case of simply eating better, getting out more, getting a job or finding a hobby. In more serious instances, it could mean visiting your doctor to obtain medication or even undergoing counselling or psychotherapy. However, keeping your mind and body in good health might just mean overhauling your daily routine. A few simple steps can get you started, and here are a few to try:

1) Exercise

There’s overwhelming evidence to suggest that exercise helps to lessen the effects of depression. This is due to the release of endorphins, or ‘feel-good’ hormones, in the brain.

2) Eat a healthy diet

Diets high in sugar consumption have been linked to mental health problems. Eating more fresh fruit and vegetables and limiting your intake of processed foods are important habits to maintain.

3) Go outside

Get enough exposure to sunlight to maintain healthy Vitamin D levels. Low levels of Vitamin D have been linked to psychiatric and neurological disorders.

4) Eliminate bad habits

Both smoking and drinking alcohol can cause increased levels of stress and tension. Over time, both habits can lead to mental illnesses such as depression.

5) Get help when needed

Getting help from a friend, family member or professional is highly likely to improve our mental health. Actively seeking guidance can lead to a quicker recovery from disorders and illnesses – and this will ultimately allow you to live a healthier, fuller life.

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