Improve Mental Health by Improving Physical Health
Tuesday, February 7 2017 Silke Morin
If you want to improve your mental health, you should improve your physical health. You'll be pleased to know there is a direct association between sleep, exercise, nutrition, and emotional health. Individually, chronic sleep loss, lack of physical activity, or eating poorly can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and depression. So if you want to improve your mental health, you should improve your physical health, too.
Three Ways to Improve Mental Health with Physical Health
Get Adequate Sleep
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 35% of Americans do not get enough sleep. Seven hours of daily sleep is the recommended amount. If you aren't getting this regularly, your mood may be impacted as researchers have found that sleep loss impairs emotional reactivity and processing.
If you want to improve your emotional health, get adequate sleep. Institute a regular bedtime and remove distractions such as electronic devices from your sleeping environment. Simple changes like these can help you get better sleep.
Physical activity reduces symptoms of depression and enhances emotional wellbeing. If you can move your body every single day, you can improve your mood.
To increase the likelihood of forming a habit that will stick, do what feels comfortable to you and what's easy for you. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go for a short walk. Put on music and dance. Plant flowers in your garden. You’re more likely to keep moving if you enjoy the movement you're doing.
Eat a Proper Diet
Proper nutrition is crucial to emotional health. Eat a balanced diet that is rich in tryptophan and omega-3s, which stabilize your mood (Nutrition and Mental Health). Consider taking a multivitamin to reduce depression symptoms. Limit the amount of sugar and processed food you ingest as both can contribute to anxiety.
Also, be mindful to limit alcohol consumption. While some people use alcohol to self-medicate when they are dealing with depression, drinking too much can often worsen symptoms (How Can Depression Lead to Alcohol Abuse and Addiction?).
Improved Mental Health and Better Physical Health Are Related
Your physical health directly impacts your mental health, and a few small changes can make a huge difference in your emotional wellbeing. If you can get adequate sleep, exercise daily, and eat a balanced diet, you will lessen anxiety and depression symptoms. Improving your physical health will improve your mental health.