When we talk about mental health, we mean our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.
Our mental health influences our everyday life activities; the decisions we make, how we think, feel, and act, our relationship with others, and as well as how we handle stress.
A lot of things can affect our mental health, disrupting one’s opinions to life which eventually results in mental ill health. Most of the causes are linked to our day-to-day activities like stress, and anxiety, and some a product of a previous life invent like adverse childhood experience, child abuse, neglection while some are as a result of social and financial circumstances(eg poverty). Underlying medical conditions such as chronic stress, depression, cancer, etc can also affect the mental health of an individual.
Improving mental health requires a multifaceted mind-body approach. Natural remedies are generally safe to use but they acts as supplements and do not replace psychiatric avenues like medical therapies, professional counselling and pharmaceutical aid. Some of the natural ways to treat mental health are;
Physical activities naturally affect our mental health and improve it by increasing blood circulation to our brains and inducing our bodies’ physiologic reactivity to stress. Gym workouts are not accessible to everyone, but simple exercises such as yoga which teaches body and mind control, dancing or following a rhythm which enhances blood flow and sensations of happiness improves the mental health of an individual.
Taking a few minutes to meditate every day with the goal of becoming more mindful and to create awareness of the present moment has been proven to ease mental health conditions and cope with stress. It does this by changing your brain and increasing the parts of the brain related with problem solving, mental resilience and emotional regulation and makes them larger and denser. Meditation practice involves body relaxation, guided imagery, mind calming and breathing. Practicing yoga for example alongside meditation can offer a well-rounded mental and physical health approach. Ideally, one should try to meditate for at least 10-15 mins for 5-7 days a week.
3. Healthy diet
The food that we eat and the physical health of our bodies are two of the most important factors that affect mental health. Nutritional psychiatry is a field of study that focuses on the connection between the brain and diet. According to researchers, the gastrointestinal tract can produce about 95% of serotonin, which helps with emotional processing and digestion.
To improve mental health, it is important that you consume a variety of nutritious food and drink at least 2 liters of water per day. Complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, and vegetables, can help keep you full and prevent constipation, fatigue, and dehydration. Omega-3 fatty acids found in nuts, fish, and eggs can also help with heart health.
Switching up monotonous habits like skipping meals, reduced sleep time, scrolling on electronic devices for leisure can negatively impact mental health but incorporating healthy routine practices can alleviate anxiety and depression. Consider incorporating the following activities into your routine:
-Take out time to relax, contemplate, and pay attention to the positive things as you go about your day, even the small things.
-Creating time to take short walks between task
-Set aside some amount of time for new healthy habits like gardening, journaling, or painting.
-Exchange old habits for healthier behaviors, like substituting your usual alcoholic drink for hot tea.
-After completing undesirable tasks, consider praising yourself and seeing your self worth
5.Talk to someone
Talking can provide stress relief and can lighten the load of a concern someone might be having. Although sometimes reaching out to someone to discuss mental problems can be uncomfortable, it often proves rewarding. Discussing mental health struggles with a friend or relation provides positive effects and improves mental health by providing reassurance and encouraging positive behaviors to the person.
In the case of crucial or persistent unwell feelings, mental health therapists offer professional solutions by offering guidance and support to patients dealing with different mental health matters.