It’s 2018. Chances are that you know someone (or several people) very close to you who is dealing with a mental illness. From the ever increasing suicide rates to mass shooting in schools, it’s time to take mental illness seriously. Now, all of the current talk by the media and political talking heads focuses on the need for people to seek out professional help, and that is in fact the first thing someone with a mental illness should do. There are no shortcuts. However, there are several other minor things, specifically related to lifestyle changes, that people with mental illnesses can focus on in order to improve their state of well-being (outside of getting help from a professional). Unfortunately, as per a 2015 study by the University of Illinois, many patients with mental illnesses are far less likely to receive lifestyle change advice (such as diet and exercise advice) from a healthcare provider.
This is a rather lamentable and shocking thing to take in. As a society, we have an obligation to not only help people in need but to protect our future generation as well. And, are we really asking that much? Changes in lifestyle such as exercise and nutrition usually have a considerable impact on an individual’s quality of life. Again, clearly for people battling illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety, the first thing they should do is to seek out mental health support. Even if you are a religious Christian, there are Christian counselors to help you for more serious cases of mental illness. However, no matter the severity of your mental illness, you should use professional counseling in tandem with a routine of lifestyle changes. Below are just a few examples of lifestyle changes you can make.
#1: Enhance the diet
Research usually shows that the diet will influence your mental health, both in good and bad ways. Veggies and fruits are usually related to better mental health and well-being as per the University of Warwick. This is important as mental well-being like happiness, optimism, resilience and self-esteem and this can help safeguard not only against mental health but physical health as well.
#2: Exercise should be a priority
Exercise is yet another regular regime which you should include in your daily activity. Physical activity has been shown to definite benefits for all those who deal with issues related to mental health. Research also shows that low level of activity like gardening, walking can also ward off symptoms of depression and also schizophrenia. Before starting any new form of physical activity, get permission from your doctor.
#3: Get sound sleep
All of us crave for a night of refreshing sleep but we usually don’t get it. Hence, you can boost your odds by committing yourself to a solid 7 hours of sleep, minimum. It’s understandable that services like Netflix make TV binge-watching a lot easier, however you need to stay focused. Put down the remote and climb into bed with no distractions. Additionally, you should get the right amount of exercise and avoid having heavy meals in the evening.
So, if you’re wondering about the different lifestyle changes that you should make in order to improve your mental health, the above are three simple tips that completely in your control. Remember, mental illness is not a joke and is not something to take lightly. You should be doing everything in your power to better your situation. Because even if some changes seem minor, they can in fact have a major impact.