3 Simple Ways to Improve your Mental Health #mentalhealthawarenessmonth

Updated: May 16

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"Your mental health is JUST as important as your physical health. As someone with PTSD, I've found that if I neglect my mental health, my physical health suffers too. If you're on a weight loss journey, it's sometimes easy to only focus on the physical condition of yourself. However, you should always remember that your mental health still needs to be a priority ❤," - Elaine shares an important reminder with us.

The World Health Organization' constitution states: "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." An important implication of this definition is that mental health is more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.

Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.

Mental health is fundamental to our collective and individual ability as humans to think, emote, interact with each other, earn a living and enjoy life. On this basis, the promotion, protection and restoration of mental health can be regarded as a vital concern of individuals, communities and societies throughout the world."¹

Having good mental health is a right to all humans. No exceptions. Nothing that you could be experiencing is worth breaking your self esteem and sanity over. Mental health is the cornerstone for wealth and health in every single aspect of our lives. Without a healthy and balanced mind, you cannot organically flourish to live your life to it's greatest potential .

Please remember that 'good' and 'poor' states of mental health looks and feels different for each person - it's not a one-size-fits-all matter. And that it's totally natural for your mental health to have days of highs and lows. :)

However, when you experience periods of two weeks or more of overwhelming anxiety, fear / panic, depression or a diagnosed mental health condition flare up, then this is an indication of poor mental health that is in need of attention from a professional.

It's inevitable that you will experience situations which will knock you - you might wobble and come right, or fall off your feet entirely. Your state of mind (or mental health) when going through these events will determine how you cope and recover, if at all.

We cannot control what comes to us in our life's journey, but we certainly do have control over how we process and express what we think, feel and do about our circumstances. By creating healthy daily habits today, you will produce a safe space for your mind to accept your reality and respond in a thoughtful and appropriate manner to anything that comes across your path. Doesn't that sound like a state of being you'd love to live in?

If you would like to live like this on a more consistent basis, include these 3 feel-good tips below to your daily routine to see your overall mental health improve. And when your mental health improves, you can look, feel and operate at your ultimate best!

1) Move your Body! - When you move your body by exercising, walking, dancing or even cleaning your house with your favourite songs pumping, your body releases endorphins which make you feel great!

"Exercising starts a biological cascade of events that results in many health benefits, such as protecting against heart disease and diabetes, improving sleep, and lowering blood pressure. High-intensity exercise releases the body's feel-good chemicals called endorphins...That kind of activity spurs the release of proteins which cause nerve cells to grow and make new connections. The improvement in brain function makes you feel better. "In people who are depressed, neuroscientists have noticed that the hippocampus in the brain—the region that helps regulate mood—is smaller. Exercise supports nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, improving nerve cell connections, which helps relieve depression," says Dr. Michael Craig Miller, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.²

When you're not feeling like yourself, it's difficult to complete an hour work out or even get off the couch - but try break it down to only 5 minutes of stretching, a 15 minute walk or just cleaning one room. It's always best to start small and with something that you can enjoy doing daily. You can even grab a friend or family member to join you.

If you feel you need an accountability partner then book a consultation call with me to get your very own action plan from your Holistic Weight Loss Coach.

2) Meditate for 10 minutes a day - This activates the parasympathetic nervous system for relaxation and reducing anxiety. Your parasympathetic nervous system controls your "rest and digest" state which switches on when you are not currently under threat. If your body feels it is under threat, it will save it's energy for a fight or flight response instead of allowing you to breath deeply and 'process your contents' like digestion and excretion. Your 'contents' includes your emotions and thoughts, too.

Meditation is the act of being still, undisturbed and focusing on your breath and thoughts. This invites your body and mind to come into the present moment and truly feel that you are not under any real threat right now.

The simple act of deep and purposeful breathing opens the doors for anxiety to hit the road, Jack, and puts your life with it's tasks and responsibilities into perspective - a more digestible and manageable perspective.

You can do this either at the beginning or end of your day, whichever suits you best.

Namaste, babe!

3) Journal for 5-10 minutes a day - Journaling has a similar affect to meditation, except you'll be releasing your thoughts on paper. When your brain has 158 tabs open where three are playing youtube tutorials, one is teaching you Spanish, another is playing a Disney movie and four tabs are "how to get rich by the end of today", it's probably time to get all that noise out of there!

In an interesting article from Psychology Today³, they share how different writing exercises helped people who have recently gone through a divorce and how writing had benefits for the participants mentally and physically.

Different writing styles work for different people. However, in the article they showed how narrative expressive journaling promotes self-distancing by creating a storyline of the events. This process creates distance between you and your buzzing problems and invites the writer to look at the events in a more rational way instead of replaying emotional black holes.

In short, writing what's on your mind actually helps to get it off your mind. Think of your mind as a pressure cooker and your thoughts and stresses are the steam that builds and builds. Writing is the pressure value to release the built up tension.

Just like meditation, journaling can be done at ant time in your day. There is no right way to do it, as long as you feel lighter and at peace afterwards.