how to keep your mental health strong

How to Keep Your Mental Health Strong

This article will educate you on the most important ways to keep your mental health in check.

Mental health conditions affect 1 in 4 people. Mental health is a general term that can encompass psychological well-being, happiness, and life satisfaction. Discover the important ways to keep your mental health strong. Mental health care is a topic that is often ignored, but it can be just as important as physical health. The first step to keeping your mental health strong is recognizing the symptoms of a mental illness, crisis, or distress. Mental health and diseases have often been ignored, overlooked, and dismissed.

In many eastern cultures, the mere conversation about mental health is taboo and aggressively discouraged. I grew up in India and had first-hand experience with how the linkage between mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health is disjointed. It is due to the lack of knowledge and information about mental and emotional health and how it affects our physical wellbeing.

Did you know when I moved to the US in 1999, the average life expectancy for people in India was 62 years? I was shocked when I realized this fact during my research. Eleven years later today, the life expectancy in India has increased to 70 years. As compared to India, the 2022 current life expectancy rate in the US is 79 years. I lost my father 11 years ago, and he was 62 years of age. He lived 58 years of his life in India and the last four years with me here in the United States.

Reflecting on what I know today about the importance of mental fitness and its relationship to physical activity, I know my father suffered from severe depression that was never discussed, diagnosed, or treated. On top of this, his poor eating habits and an overall poor nutritional diet caused diabetes when he was 45.

Seeing my father struggle with his health during the last few years of his life here was a big challenge for mom and me. His death at age 62 was a wake-up call that took me on a different trajectory of health and wellness and alternative medicine. Most wellness industries like Psychology today, family physicians and even Harvard Medical School openly educate and promote positive mental health, the impact of lifestyle choices, healthy relationships, on our minds and bodies.

I have seen my loved-ones struggle due to poor mental health, which affects their ability to have a healthy relationship with their spouse, parents, children and colleagues. Poor sleep, daily stress, lack of healthy diet, physical activity, also affects self-esteem. Thus, causing a profound and drastic impact on your mental, emotional and physical bodies.

anxiety and mental health

Stress and Mental Health

The 2020 COVID pandemic has changed our focus, lifestyles, and ways of doing business, learning, delivering, shopping, and trading. The pandemic has shed light on mental health awareness as well. Did you know that scientists now estimate more than 10,000 rare diseases worldwide? And before the pandemic, in 2019, at the global level, 7 of the 10 leading causes of death were non-communicable diseases like heart disease, stroke, lung disease/cancer, lower respiratory infections, diabetes, and dementia at the top place on this list.

Scientists say that inflammation is the root cause of most diseases. Stress causes inflammation. So, the ultimate cause of the dis-ease or discomfort of the organ in our body is stress. It causes inflammation of the brain and body. The morbidity and mortality due to stress-related illnesses are alarming. Emotional stress is a major contributing factor to the six leading causes of death in the United States: cancer, coronary heart disease, accidental injuries, respiratory disorders, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States estimates that stress accounts for about 75% of all family physicians or doctors’ visits. These patient visits involve a vast span of physical complaints including, but not limited to headaches, back pain, heart problems, upset stomach, stomach ulcer, sleep problems, tiredness, and accidents.

According to Occupational Health and Safety News and the National Council on Compensation of Insurance, up to 90% of all visits to primary care physicians are related to patients’ stress-related complaints.

Stress is one of the most common human experiences. But when one lacks strong relationships with self and others, stress can get out of control. If triggered by both internal and external factors, stress when not handled properly, can cause a drastic downward spiral. Estimations are that over 80% of adults in North America are experiencing chronic stress and anxiety these days. Stress can be physical or mental, social or environmental, and is known to have a wide range of negative impacts on people’s health. The World Health Organization defines stress as: “any threat to survival, threatened loss of freedom or dignity, actual or potential injury.”

At the core level, stress can start with the following three things:

  • Poor quality of your sleep. 40% of people with insomnia in the United States are also affected by a mental health disorder.
  • Poor quality and quantity of your food and dietary intake. In the US, for adults aged 20 and over, the pre-pandemic prevalence of obesity data was 41.9%.
  • Poor quality of keeping your body active. Staying sedentary or inactive for longer time.

I understand the value of managing my stress. Half of the battle is won with good sleep and proper nutrition, and how you can keep your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical body stronger for overall wellness. Sleeping in a natural, dark, quiet place helps me relax and de-stress. I meditate, manifest, and do distant clearing sessions for my clients at night when it is quiet and peaceful for me after my family members are asleep. The external environment allows me to tap into the peace and calm inside me. Any level of mental health issue can affect your productivity and ability to care for your family member. No matter what your age, do not ignore the signs of poor emotional health and mental wellness.

mental health and signs of stress

What are common signs of mental distress?

Knowing the signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses is essential. It's also important to understand how these illnesses affect you and what you can do about them. Many school districts, corporate organizations and small businesses are making mental health care a priority. Government agencies and many corporate institutes like National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, National Cancer Institute, the Mayo Clinic, and the Cooper Institute, just to name a few, also suggest Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies to their patients now. Mental fitness is as important as physical health.

Here are some first self-observations if you suspect you have mental distress. If you’re experiencing a meltdown, have anxiety, or a mental health issue, you should talk to a loved one, and seek professional help. You may have a mental health problem if you’re struggling with the following:

  • Feeling hopeless.
  • Feeling as though life will never get better again.
  • Feeling out of control and/or helpless, when it comes to your problems and worries, you cannot find a way out of them.
  • Feeling you are a failure and all bad things happen to you.
  • Having thoughts causing suicidal or self-harming behaviors, such as thoughts of suicide or a wish to harm yourself physically.

Talking with a doctor or therapist about your feelings and observations is best. They may recommend treatment options if you have a mental health condition or give advice on how to cope with it in the meantime.

If you suspect a family member or a loved one has a mental illness, it's essential to support them and help them get treatment. Tough times do not last; tough people and stronger relationships do. It can also be helpful if you are more emotionally supportive before their appointment and after the session. This is a healthy way to support your loved ones on their mental health journey. Poor mental health symptoms may include:

  • Feeling unusually happy or sad
  • Overly quiet and inexpressive in conversations
  • Being overly excited or overly irritable
  • Irrational behavior and life choices — no display of healthy habits
  • A feeling where they have no control over their emotions
  • Showing a lack of interest in usual activities, but too much interest in unimportant ones
  • Not sleeping well
  • Not eating correctly or loss of appetite

9 ways to improve your mental health and fitness

A healthy lifestyle is essential to our overall wellbeing. The following are 9 ways to improve your mental health and fitness.

1. Eat a balanced diet:

Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to eating the right amount of calories. Focus on protein as well. Most people are dehydrated, so they must drink more water. There is ancient wisdom in coordinating our eating with the cycle of the Sun. One is advised not to eat after the Sun sets. This allows good time for the organs to finish their digestive chores so that we can unwind and prepare for bedtime.

Daily nutrition and healthy meal planning get pushed aside as we age and get busy creating life. We join the “rat race” and become a part of the instant gratification society. Taking a few nutrition classes or hiring a chef to meal prep for you could help you in the long run on your mental health journey. I cannot stress enough the long-term benefits of healthy meals and nutrition for your mind and body. I have always lived in a multi-generational, joint family. Food brings us together and nourishes our minds, bodies, and souls.

2. Exercise regularly:

Exercise is one of the best ways to improve your mental health and fitness. Studies have shown that exercising for 10 minutes daily can reduce stress and anxiety. This leads to positive mental health as well. You don’t have to go out of the way to spend hours at the gym.

Standing at your work desk is better than sitting on that chair for 8 hours. Doing stretches and yoga is highly recommended. We must stay active to keep good health, boost energy levels, and prevent diseases like diabetes.

3. Get enough good quality sleep:

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, so we need at least 6 to 8 hours per night for our bodies to work correctly. Good sleep is one of the core foundations of how to keep your mental health strong. Remember, good mental health requires regular good quality sleep. It is also important to note that the best hours for our bodies to rest, detox, and realign to their natural balance are between 11 pm and 3 am. So you should be in bed and sleeping during these hours — not eating, drinking, watching TV, or working.

I am often guilty of working late, which is why I depend on alternative medicine therapies for my mental fitness, emotional health, and physical health. Mental well being is a crucial identifier of perseverance during tough times, and it is also most affected by the seasons of change in your personal and professional lives.

4. Keep up with hygiene & grooming:

It’s essential to keep up with hygiene to feel good and maintain good health. Mental health affects physical health, which is why it’s essential to take care of your mental wellness by taking care of your daily hygiene and regular grooming. This practice also boosts your self-esteem. You do not have to overspend on grooming and hygiene. Daily showers, combing your hair, and a self-body massage followed by a warm water soak with essential oils and calming music are some examples.

Decluttering and donating your closet to get rid of old clothes, books, and items that you have not worn or used in years are some of the ways that may contribute towards your mental wellness.

5. Self-Care:

The definition of self-care is simple yet often confused with selfishness. Self-care is caring for yourself. It is a term that has been thrown around a lot in the last few years. It is vital to understand that self-care is not selfishness but rather an important and necessary part of mental health care. Learning to care for yourself also means making your health and wellness a top priority.

Self-care can be as simple as taking a bath, getting a massage, or even just having some time to sit and have a cup of tea. Self-care is often associated with activities that make you feel good about yourself and your life.

6. Try Meditation or Yoga:

There is a difference between praying, wishing, and meditation. Meditation is when you can learn to calm your mind, go beyond the mind chatter, negative self-talk, and worries, and observe and accept what is. Be still to receive the guidance, answers, and messages from the Divine, The Higher Power, God, whatever, and whoever you consider your spiritual connection with. Prayers are requests or asking the Divine to listen to you, whereas meditation is when you learn to listen to the Divine messages.

Try hand mudras for meditation, along with breathing exercises. Simple and common mudras can positively impact your physical, emotional, and mental health.

7. Make Time for Family and Friends:

Making time for family and friends is vital for our mental health. It also helps us to feel less lonely. We don't have to do anything extravagant - we need to see them regularly, even if it's just for a few minutes.

Socializing with friends and family can be helpful when feeling down or stressed. Spending time with people who care about you can lift your mood, give you new perspectives and help you get through tough times. You never know when a family member needs you to uplift them. Social interaction and being supported, wanted, and appreciated by loved ones contribute to positive mental health.

8. Try Digital Detox:

Digital detox is taking a break from technology and social media. A digital detox can help you focus on what's important in life, find balance, and clear your head. We are constantly glued to technology, and the effects of eSmog on mental health and our bodies are alarming.

My clients are often shocked when they find out there is no technology in my bedroom. Yes, a totally digital-free bedroom. Phones are on airplane mode if they are in the bedroom. Bedrooms are for resting, unwinding, reflecting, meditation, rejuvenation, and procreation. Not for gaming, working, or watching TV. Mental health requires calmness, quietness, and stillness. Being bombarded with digital noise harms the mind, body, and soul, not to mention eSmog radiation.

9. Create your daily rituals:

One of the most important things to do to have a healthy lifestyle is to have daily rituals. These rituals can be anything from getting up early and starting your day with a morning ritual or ending it with a nightly routine. These rituals ensure you are taking care of yourself and honoring your needs.

The first step in creating your daily rituals is figuring out what they should look like. This may take some time, but it will be worth it as you start feeling better mentally and physically. For example, one person might find that they need quiet time before going to bed at night, while another might need a morning ritual that includes exercise or eating a healthy breakfast.

Having a nightly ritual is vital for good sleep. It could be reading a book, catching up and cuddling with family members, meditation, taking a warm bath, or writing a journal for daily reflection. Many around the globe understand the value of exercise and meditation and seek alternative routes to keep their minds, bodies, and souls more robust.

Scientific tools that support your mental wellbeing

The experience of chronic stress is when simple events such as traffic jams or work overloads happen every day for extended periods, and one feels trapped. Some people might chalk up anxiety due to financial, career, relationship uncertainty, or a lack of control. But sometimes, there could be something else going on. The odds are you experience tremendous stress in your daily life. But many things can cause this, and these are some of the easiest to come by.

Pent-up anger, buried shame, feeling of guilt, rejection, abandonment, and resentment all have a critical effect on your hypothalamus. We should allow ourselves to vent these stress-related emotions and not just be burdened by them — the impact of holding them in is disastrous.

One of the best tools I have been using for the last 5 years is the PSiO Light Therapy Glasses. These glasses are scientifically backed and clinically proven to help you relax, improve your sleep, and manage stress, anxiety, and depression, thus improving your mental health and immunity.

Check it out. Visit Use My Ambassador ID: UnfoldYourHealth (all one word), complete the form and submit. Checkout the various product offers to help keep your mental health strong.

psio light therapy glasses for mental health fitness

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