The following article was kindly written and contributed by Lewis Robinson
Taking care of your mental health is important - but, where do you start?
The average person doesn’t really think about their mental health, and that’s simply because they don’t have to. However, even the mentally healthy should be aware of the needs of their minds in order to prevent the decline of mental health or even mental illness.
Here’s what you need to know about how to manage your mental health.
The Mind and Body are Connected
One of the most surprising aspects of mental health is how mental health and physical health are connected. When the body suffers, so does the mind, and the reverse is equally true.
When you’re constantly tired, it impacts your mood, and fatigue is also a symptom of depression. This means that the interplay between physical and mental health can become a vicious cycle for some in which physical maladies can cause mental illness which in turn causes more fatigue and pain.
The first step to manage your mental health is therefore taking care of your body. Improving your diet is a good place to start, because simple carbs and sugar cause a burst of energy only to result in a later crash and often weight gain. Caffeine, similarly, can alleviate energy concerns in the short term, but it can increase anxiety for its duration and again result in a crash. Complex carbs and a healthier relationship with caffeine are the preferred methods of meeting your body’s energy demands.
Supplements such as red superfood can also help manage your mental health and maintain a healthier body by giving your laser focused precision when it comes to getting all of the essential vitamins and nutrients your body needs.
Know Your Limits
One of the most important things you can do to manage your mental health is know what impacts it and how to avoid those things. While pushing yourself to be better and stronger is admirable, too much too soon can cause your mental health to suffer.
For example, an introvert can find social interaction to be a draining experience best alleviated by time alone. This is an important part of how a person rejuvenates, so don’t be afraid to take care of yourself by staying in instead of going out with friends. The social pressure to hang out can be tough to overcome, but getting that much needed alone is more pressing. That’s because it dictates how restful your down time will be, which in turn affects how well you perform at work.
Another way that this principle can manifest is in confronting fears and other stressors. While immersion therapy can be incredibly helpful, you can’t learn to swim by diving into the deep end, so to speak. Much like physical exercise, you need to build up to your goals by finding the sweet spot at which it’s a challenge without doing more harm than good.
Being aware of your state of being is the key to effectively manage your mental health, and the practice of mindfulness is simply that. By being aware of how your body and mind are responding to your surroundings and circumstances, you can better curtail degrading mental health.
For example, those with a panic disorder might find themselves holding their breath or clenching their jaw without even realizing, and that can cause problems over time if left unchecked. In particular, that kind of unconscious muscular tension is known to cause stiffness and achiness of the muscles and only serves to worsen your mental state, so being aware of these bad habits and curbing them is essential for avoiding the worst of a mental illness.
Matters of the mind have an air of mystery to them. One likes to think of the mind as an ethereal thing, but the brain is a bodily organ and needs to be treated as such. There are demonstrable principles at work that govern your mental health, and knowing how to meet your mind’s needs is critical. These tips will help you make better life choices that will help you keep your mind happy and healthy.