Tips to Improve Mental Health

Mental health is an issue. According to the CDC, 12.5% of adults and 21% of adolescents report feelings of anxiety and nervousness. 8.3% of adults report feelings of depression. 57.2 million people visit their doctor’s offices, with mental health issues and disorders being their primary concern. The emergency rooms receive 5.8 million people, and the rate of suicide in teens has risen and is now the 3rd cause of death among young people ages 15 to 24.

mental healthWhat Impacts Mental Health

Many factors can impact mental health. Below is a list of several of them.

    • Having a history of alcohol and drug abuse.
    • A history of mental health in your family as well as genetics.
    • Conflicts within the family and difficulties in relationships.
    • A history of child abuse or trauma at any age.
    • Social isolation.
    • Physical health, dealing with a chronic disease like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or pain.

Tips for Keeping Your Emotions Healthy

Exercising 3-5 times per week offers huge benefits for our physical and mental health. Just 30 minutes of walking can boost your mood. If you can, enjoy nature and take a walk outside, don’t forget to bring a friend. If you can’t exercise, consider using a wellness product like the Chi Machine that promotes movement.
Getting quality sleep is necessary. When you lack sleep, coping with change, making decisions, and problem-solving can become more difficult. It also makes it harder for you to control your emotions and reactions. A lack of sleep contributes to depression and suicide. So, make sleep a priority. Here are a few tips you can implement to make sure the sleep you are getting is quality sleep. Avoid caffeine and sugar after 3 p.m. Turn off all screen time at least 30 minutes before bed. Start reading a book, listening to some relaxing music, diffusing some essential oils, and practicing deep breathing before you go to sleep to allow your body to relax and unwind.

Managing stress is also necessary. Stress impacts our emotions as well as our immune health. To discover what helps you feel good and relax, list 10 to 15 things you enjoy doing and make time each day to do one of those things. Doing something you enjoy each day will help you cope with the stressors of our modern lifestyle.
Setting Goals and Priorities is necessary. I know the term goals and priorities can make you want to cringe. However, look at it from a different perspective. Determine what is important to you and then identify what you want to focus on first. I review this in my chronic pain support group all the time. So please list what things are important to you and then make another list of all the assets you have to help you accomplish it. Include your skills, family, friends, co-workers, educators, etc.

Practice gratitude. Each morning when I get up, I thank God for everything I am grateful for – a roof over my head, a great husband, and the fact that I get to help people.

Focus on positivity. Life has taught me that if you focus on the negative things about people and places, you won’t see the good things about them. So start focusing on what you like about someone or something instead of what you don’t like.

Stay connected with others. Attend church and social activities in your area that pertain to things you like to do. Make sure to get together with friends and try picking up the phone to talk to them. Did you know that hearing someone’s voice can be soothing? Also, start learning something new on a topic you find interesting. It’s a great way to meet more people with similar interests.
Eating a healthy diet is essential for maintaining brain health. The brain has a tremendous job. It is responsible for your mood and all your body’s actions, from breathing to heart rate to sleeping.
Our body gets energy from the food we eat
 – aka the fuel. What you eat affects the structure and function of your brain & mood. Feed yourself like you are a million-dollar racehorse. Give your body high-quality nutrient-dense foods that contain lots of vitamins and minerals. Eat the color of the rainbow. Fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, healthy fats (omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, avocados, & olive oil), and lean protein. Stay hydrated. Drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces each day.

Foods high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, and overly processed affect how your body processes insulin and can promote inflammation and oxidative stress. These types of foods can impair brain function and affect your mood (depression).

Keeping your gut healthy is also a must. The gut, your second brain, contains millions of neurons throughout its linings. Poor gut health can lead to anxiety, stress, or depression. One of those neurons or neurotransmitters is Serotonin – the feel-good neurotransmitter (neuron). Serotonin helps regulate mood, sleep, digestion, nausea, wound healing, bone health, blood clotting, and desire. I hope this helps you understand why the types of foods you eat matter. The better foods you eat to fuel your body, the more you feed the good bacteria in your intestinal microbiome. These good bacteria influence your health by protecting the intestinal lining, being a barrier for toxins and harmful bacteria, and helping to keep inflammation at bay as well as mood and energy levels.

If you want to learn more about healthy living, check out our wellness programs.

supplements for mental health

Supplements for Mental Health Support

  • Essential Fatty Acids – Studies on omega-3 fatty acids suggest that high doses may reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • B Vitamins also play a role in the production of brain chemicals that affect mood. Low levels of B-12 and other B vitamins, such as vitamin B-6 and folate, may be linked to depression. B Vitamins keep your nervous system healthy, which can impact your emotional and physical health.
  • Vitamin C is essential because many people who are deficient in vitamin C feel tired and depressed.
  • Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that supports your body, offering improved sleep and less stress.
  • L-Theanine improves mental function, stress, and anxiety, although studies are lacking in these areas.
  • Add a prebiotic or probiotic to help populate the good bacteria in your gut. You can also eat fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, and sauerkraut.

Pay attention to how the food you eat makes you feel. This can work two fold. It can help you determine if you have any food sensitivities or reactions to the food, like getting hyper or tired.
Essential Oils have a powerful influence emotions and mood. Next time you are lacking energy, try some citrus essential oils like bergamot, orange, lemon, or grapefruit. If you feel you need to destress and get grounded, grab some lavender or vetiver. Rose is my favorite, mixed with a citrus oil for grief and sadness. Feel free to create a roll-on or diffuse.

When to Seek Help

Experts say if you notice any of the following symptoms for a period of two weeks or longer, schedule an appointment to speak to a professional. Symptoms include difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite or unplanned weight changes, difficulty getting out of bed in the morning because of your mood, having trouble focusing, losing interest in things you usually like to do, not completing tasks, and feeling restless or irritable.