Lifestyle factors such as exercise, diet, and self-care can play an important role in the development or prevention of mental illness. Therefore, it is important to understand how these things can affect and improve mental health.
Sports and Mental Health
The following developments relate to regular exercise:
- Better cardiovascular health
- Stronger muscles and bones
- Improved mood
- Improved brain function
- Decreased levels of stress, anxiety, and depression
- Lower risk of mental illness
These results are due to the fact that exercise can increase the brain’s receptivity to positive mood hormones. These hormones include serotonin, which can increase happiness and reduce stress, and endorphins, which reduce pain and increase happiness.
Exercise can include walking, running, cycling, or swimming. It is recommended to exercise for about 30 minutes a day. Busy people may be helped by doing this exercise in their daily routine, such as walking to public transport or cycling to school. If you’re feeling too nervous or embarrassed to exercise, inviting a family member or close friend to exercise together can help you feel more comfortable and supported through the process.
Diet and Mental Health
The link between diet and mental health may not seem surprising, but there is a growing body of scientific literature discussing the network between the gut and brain, and finding important links between our diet, gut health, and our brains.
The benefits of healthy eating include:
- Energy boost
- Improved sleep quality
- Reduced risk of depression
- Reduce symptoms of depression
Eating unhealthy foods can be a coping strategy that people use to relieve stress. Foods high in saturated fat and sugar interact with dopamine in a similar way to other addictive substances, meaning these bad habits can be difficult to break. The negative effects of an unhealthy diet can add to existing mental health problems or can play a role in developing mental health illnesses. It is usually recommended that you regularly consume a mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes to reduce your intake of processed foods and red meat.
Self-care and Mental Health
Self care is something that is important and unique for everyone. In general, self-care refers to the act of taking care of and maintaining one’s physical and mental health.
There are many different ways you can practice self-care, depending on the individual’s needs and interests. Whatever the activity, it is important to practice self-care as it can build the ability to manage stress and increase endurance.
Examples of self-care include:
- Enough sleep
- Nurturing and maintaining personal relationships
- Train concentration
- Spend time doing fun activities, such as reading a book in bed, listening to music, or cooking.