Medicine and therapy are the most common treatments for mental health problems like anxiety and depression, but lifestyle choices are often overlooked.  

Psychology Today says, “That’s a lamentable oversight because lifestyle changes—things as simple as nutrition and exercise—can have a significant impact on quality of life, for any of us, but especially for those dealing with issues such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. They can also help minimize the development of risk factors that can lead to conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension, all of which are seen at higher rates in those with mental illness, the study noted.”

Although lifestyle choices might not cure mental health problems entirely, they can help. Consider these five lifestyle choices to significantly improve mental health and emotional well-being.

Healthier Diet Choices

Food affects mental health.

According to research cited by psychology today, fruits and vegetables are associated with improved mental health. Other studies have come to similar conclusions

It seems that by simply choosing healthier food options, we can boost feelings of joy, self-esteem, more peace, less stress, etc., all of which can help protect mental health and improve physical well-being.  

Confront Drinking Problems and Drug Addictions

People with alcohol and drug abuse problems struggle with a greater incidence of health issues than the general population and have far worse health and wellness outcomes. 

The Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration, SAMHSA, reports these startling statistics:

  • In 2020, 50.0% of people aged 12 or older (or 138.5 million people) used alcohol in the past month (2020 NSDUH)
  • Among the 138.5 million people who were current alcohol users, 61.6 million people (or 44.4%) were classified as binge drinkers and 17.7 million people (28.8% of current binge drinkers and 12.8% of current alcohol users) were classified as heavy drinkers (2020 NSDUH)

According to WebMD, side effects of alcohol consumption include:

  • Worsening mental health
  • Hangovers including headaches and nausea, and vomiting
  • Post-alcohol anxiety and/or depression

Take Quiet Time

We live in a noisy world. Outside, it’s horns, traffic, and loud public places. Inside, it’s mobile phones, texting, office equipment, and people talking.

Silence is a luxurious treat that’s rarely experienced anymore.

Solitude is peaceful and good for mental well-being. Try enjoying a few minutes of quiet time daily to boost your mental health. 

Reduce Stress

Stress perpetuates mental health problems, and mental health problems perpetuate stress. But you can break this frustrating cycle by doing something to reduce your stress and anxiety levels. 

Common Stress Management Techniques That Work:

  • Rest and relaxation
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Unplug
  • Eliminate Sources of Stress
  • Practice Deep Breathing
  • Take Time to do Things You Enjoy
  • Disconnect and Unplug

Share Your Stress and Burdens

You can experience mental and emotional relief by sharing your burdens. Seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s what smart people do. There’s a saying that goes something like this: An issue that is partially shared is an issue that is half solved.  

Keeping hurts and frustrations bottled up wreaks havoc on your emotional and mental well-being. Stress and anxiety levels will rise sharply, and you will carry tension throughout your body. It will be hard to fall asleep at night and get the rest you need, leading to weariness and fatigue, all of which can result in depression. 

If you feel like you’re facing mental health problems, be sure to get the help you need so you can unburden your heart, mind, and soul. And consider trying one of these five techniques to enjoy life more and start feeling better today. 

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

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