For 65 years, Mental Health America (MHA) has been reminding Americans about the importance of our mental health wellness. This year’s theme is Mind Your Health and the goal is for all of us to recognize that the mind and the body interact with each other — what we do to one affects the other. Consequently, overall health and wellness cannot be achieved until we take care of all aspects of our mental and physical fitness.
Here are ways to improve your whole health:
Staying connected with people who love and support you helps ward off the effects of stress, depression, anxiety and other health problems. Make a concerted effort to call, email or get together with these important people in your life and feel free to share what’s on your mind honestly and openly. Be sure to communicate what you need though — a fresh perspective, actual help in solving a problem, only a sympathetic ear or just a good laugh. If you value their opinion, they will also value yours, so be open to listen to what they have to share and offer help or advice if they ask for it. Don’t forget to make plans with them for a special activity; nothing boosts your spirits, gives you more energy or makes you happier than anticipating good times with good friends.
“You are what you eat” is a familiar saying that means that the kind of food and drink you consume, directly determines the nutrients fueling your system and greatly impacts how well your mind and body are able to function. Let water replace sugary drinks and excessive amounts of caffeine to avoid empty calories, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and mood changes. Don’t skip breakfast and build your diet from lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish and unsaturated fats. People who eat these foods are up to 30% less likely to develop depression than those who eat lots of meat and dairy products.
As you walk the aisles of vitamins and supplements looking for just the right health aid for this or that symptom, remember that just because it is “over-the-counter”, it is not necessarily risk-free. There can be dangerous reactions in situations of overuse, contamination or interaction with other herbs and drugs, so if your medical doctor has not recommended particular complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs), be sure to check out this link about benefits and risks of these specialty products.
Everyone has stress. It is a normal part of life felt when you have too much to do, when you haven’t slept well, when you are worried about your job, money, relationships or a loved one who is ill or in crisis. In response to stress, your body automatically increases blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, metabolism and blood flow to your muscles. This response is intended to help you react quickly and effectively when high-risk situations arise. While it is “natural”, it is unhealthy for your body to continually be in this state and if you do not learn coping strategies, your brain, nerves, heart, stomach, pancreas, intestines and reproductive organs will all be negatively affected.
Here are a few tips to reduce or control stress:
1. Be realistic with the amount of activities you can actually take on
2. Deny the need to be a “superhero” for everyone in your life
3. Meditate 20 minutes every day
4. Visualize better ways to manage a stressful situation or a more positive approach to a difficult task
5. Exercise regularly and find a hobby you enjoy
6. Share your feelings with friends and find out how they cope with their day-to-day trials
7. Be flexible and make allowances for other’s opinions with a desire for compromise
8. Watch out for your unrealistic expectations of others…and yourself
Get plenty of rest, relaxation and exercise to support your efforts to have a healthy body and the mental ability to cope with change in a positive way. Getting the correct amount of quality sleep is a must for your ability to learn and process memories. It also helps restore your body’s energy, muscles and hormones that affect growth and appetite. Relaxation allows you to unwind and enjoy life, a very important part of maintaining good health. Exercise helps control weight, improves your mental health and mood, increases the chances of living longer and it helps strengthen bones and muscles.
Don’t confuse relaxing and socializing with drinking alcoholic beverages, nor should alcohol be a way of dealing with anxiety or depression. The rough guidelines for drinking alcohol are that men should consume no more than 14 drinks in a week and women should have no more than 7 drinks in a week. Besides the hangover the next morning, drinking can decrease the quality of your sleep by interfering with REM (rapid eye movement) sleep which is when your dreams occur and it is thought to be the most restorative stage of sleep. Alcohol also alters serotonin levels in the brain which regulate mood, and can cause mental health conditions like depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder.
In general, we find it much easier to recognize aches and pains in our bodies than we do the signs of depression, anxiety or other types of mental health disorders. That is why it is so important for us to keep our brain health top of mind, just as we would any heart condition, diabetes, high blood pressure or asthma. If you or a loved one hasn’t been feeling well, please make sure they see a psychiatrist or other mental health professional as soon as possible.
Mental Health Month Banner Image
Mental health disorders are real, common and treatable. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 5 American adults — nearly 44 million people — will experience a diagnosable mental health disorder in a given year.
Here are signs that you may need to seek help:
Prolonged depression (sadness or irritability)
Feelings of extreme highs and lows
Excessive fears, worries and anxieties
Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
Strong feelings of anger
Delusions or hallucinations
Growing inability to cope with daily problems and anxieties
Denial of obvious problems
Numerous unexplained physical ailments
The mental health professionals at
Enterhealth Outpatient Center of Excellence
are ready to help with a complete assessment to provide an individualized plan for the kind of care you need.
Call 855.393.8656 to make an appointment
We encourage you to fully embrace the concept of wellness of your mind, body
and spirit. With the combination of our Eastern and Western medical approaches
to stress management strategies that promote resiliency and strengthen mental health, Enterhealth can maximize your potential to lead a full and productive life.
To learn more about Enterhealth’s residential addiction treatment center or Outpatient rehabilitation programs, call 1.855.393.8656 or contact us using this form to talk to your trusted advisor, today!