When you’re physically unwell, you could simply get tested and take medications to address the problem. The approach is a bit different when it comes to mental health.
If you’re grappling with mental health issues like stress, anxiety disorders, and addiction, there’s more to treatment than just medications.
Sometimes, you won’t need to medicate at all. Depending on the issue, a mental health professional may resort to a holistic approach to getting you the help you need. That may mean a combination of medication, coping measures, and lifestyle adjustments.
Looking at lifestyle changes, you find it’s one of the most effective solutions for improving mental health.
Let’s look at some lifestyle interventions that benefit your mental health.
1. Diet Changes
It’s well known that your diet can directly affect your health, either positively or negatively. The effect is not restricted to physical health, as researchers have linked diet quality to depression prevalence.
These studies have found that diet changes can help resolve or manage various mental health conditions like depression.
One of the main diets singled out by experts as a treatment option is the Mediterranean-style diet. These healthy foods include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, seafood, seeds, and nuts.
Besides your healthcare provider or mental health professional, you may want to work with a nutritionist to help personalize your diet.
2. Sleep Quality
Lack of enough sleep is linked to poor memory, lack of focus, stress, and anxiety.
You need quality sleep just as much as you need water and nutrition, which means sleep is necessary for your body to function normally.
As such, studies indicate a two-way relationship between sleep and mental health problems. That means while poor sleep can negatively impact your mental health, mental health conditions can also cause sleep disturbances.
The direct link between sleep and your general health demands positive changes to your sleep schedule. Adopting practices that result in quality sleep improves mental health. It’ll also lower the risk of developing or worsening mental health disorders.
3. Unhealthy Practices
Unhealthy practices can severely affect your mental health and even worsen pre-existing disorders.
Alcohol, smoking, and drug problems are increasingly becoming a factor in physical and mental health decline.
Quitting these vices can be challenging, but if you can adopt healthier alternatives like hobbies, you’ll notice a remarkable improvement in mental health.
4. Physical Activity
Most people know that physical activity is crucial for staying healthy. It’s one of the things health experts promote constantly.
These benefits of staying physically active go beyond physical health. Studies have now established that the lack of physical activity is a risk factor for mental conditions.
When you prioritize physical activity, for example, through regular exercises, you lower your risk of developing mental disorders and generally improve your mental health.
But that’s not all.
Regular exercises, particularly strength and aerobic training, can reduce symptoms of psychiatric conditions like anxiety and depression.
As you can see, physical activity has preventive and healing potential when it comes to mental health. It all comes down to the many benefits of exercising to the brain, including:
- Making the brain resistant to stress by limiting stress response
- It improves memory and reduces inflammation
- It has antidepressant effects that can relieve depression
- It aids in the growth of new brain cells
5. Natural Remedies
One of the most effective approaches to treating psychiatric disorders and improving mental health is the use of natural remedies.
These are interventions outside of pharmaceuticals that include physical therapy and herbal remedies.
Physical therapy practices like massages and yoga have mental health benefits.
The same goes for herbal remedies like ginseng, chamomile, and cannabis, which can relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Cannabis, one of the most popular and powerful herbs, has various mental health benefits when taken correctly.
Learning more about the plant, including its strains, benefits, and possible interactions with conventional drugs, is advised.
It’s important to tend to your mental health as you do with physical illness since the two are connected and have bidirectional influence.
However, how you approach taking care of your mental health may vary. You could take medications or see a therapist. But you can also make lifestyle changes that set you up for better mental health.