Originally published in New York Spirit
Often, we focus on our physical well-being and take it as an indicator of good health. Stress and mood disorders are somehow being accepted as a part and parcel of this technology-obsessed, workaholic era. No, it’s not. In fact, many of the physical ailments are affecting us because of poor mental health. According to WHO, one in four people are affected by mental disorders and is among the leading cause of ill-health.
Good mental health will help in alleviating physical diseases too apart from helping you waddle in the ocean of life. Here are five ‘must-do’ things for uplifting your mind, body, and spirits:
Give twenty minutes daily to yogic breathing exercises. Practicing deep breathing every day keeps your stress levels in check and overall improves your decision-making abilities. Anulom Vilom (Alternate breathing), Bhramri (Humming Bee), KapalBhaati (Skull Shining Breathing), and other forms of Pranayama bring instant calmness to our body.
Many pieces of research have concluded that consistent yogic practices increase the levels of natural “positive” neurotransmitters in the body. The limbic system gets calmed and the work of the prefrontal cortex is enhanced, improving control over stress and emotions. Pranayama activates the parasympathetic nervous system that helps to relieve anxiety, stress, and tension in the body.
Gardening should be the new hobby you should invest in if you aren’t doing it already. Even the doctors are prescribing this ‘green therapy’ to mental health patients. It lowers anxiety and keeps depression at bay. A study conducted in 2011 in the Netherlands suggested that gardening can combat stress even better than other leisure activities. Few other studies have suggested gardening can help in lowering dementia.
You can begin with potted plants if you do not have a garden space. A gardener or a local nursery nearby can help you with easy-to-keep plants.
Apart from helping you by releasing ‘happy’ serotonin levels, it will ground you, root you with nature, and at the end of the day, will give you nutrition, either in the form of good food or clean air.
We may think we are nurturing our garden, but of course, it’s our garden that is really nurturing us. — Jenny Uglow
There is no greater healer than nature. Go for a nature walk every day. Observe trees and plants and birds and bees while you stroll. Several studies have been conducted on this subject and everyone concluded positively on the health benefits of nature.
A research done by The Japan Wood Research Society in 2008 in Taiwan found out that some trees release a compound called phytoncide that reduces stress hormones, lower anxiety, and improves blood pressure and immunity.
Bring greenery to your home as well as the workplace. The more you are connected with nature, the more your mind, body and soul will be at ease. We are made up of nature’s elements. The disconnect makes us sick. Be mindful of nature around you. It is necessary for our healthy survival.
Though exercise is recommended for physical health, it is a must for mental health as well. It releases endorphins, promotes a sense of well-being, and according to a study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, reduces the risk of major depression. Other studies have found it effective for anxiety and ADHD as well. You need not hit the gym and do weight training for this. Walk, jog, dance, do yoga, anything that moves your body for at least thirty minutes. The human body is not supposed to become a couch potato or become one with the office desk, that’s when it attracts all kinds of ailments. Move it!
All kinds of berries contain a high level of antioxidants that boosts mental health and repair cells to prevent life-threatening diseases.
Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, raisins—every kind of nut is good for your brain. Walnuts are considered the best as they contain DHA, a type of Omega-3 fatty acid that is significant for brain health and reduce depression symptoms. Similarly, flaxseeds are rich in omega-3 and help with mental health.
Almonds and Hazelnuts are packed with Vitamin E that is essential for our mental function.
Vitamin deficiencies can cause depression, irritability, anxiety, fatigue, and other related disorders. Consult a doctor and get your Vitamin B12 levels checked. Lower levels of Vitamin B may exacerbate your symptoms.
Stay Healthy and Happy!
(Disclaimer: This article provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this article, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. )