If you clicked on this article just know that if you struggle with your mental health you are most definitely not alone and there is nothing wrong with looking for help. The truth is no matter how perfect and happy other people’s lives may seem we all have our own personal battles. 1 in 5 adults in the U.S experience mental illness in one form or another in a given year, that’s a little over 43 million people. Mental illness can make us feel isolated and alone which then makes it harder to reach out for help. This post is about common things that can negatively affect your mental health and how to fix them.
Before reading please keep in mind I’m not a professional. If you feel overwhelmed, hopeless, or just not yourself please reach out to your doctor. I can tell you from personal experience reaching out to a professional was the best decision I have made in my entire life.
A toxic person is anyone that leaves you with negatives feelings or in a negative state of mind whenever they are around. That’s not to say that getting into a fight with a friend automatically makes them a toxic person, however if you find yourself always walking away from a certain person feeling worse than you did before you may want to rethink that relationship.
Never feel bad for walking away from the toxic people that add no value to your life. It is definitely hard to cut people out of your life completely but just know it’s okay not to accept their invitations or continue conversations with them.
As the most complex organ in your body your brain needs plenty of nutrients to run properly. Poor eating habits can effect more than your weight, it effects your mood. According to WebMD Healthy foods rich in vitamins provide essential nutrients for your brain while foods high in saturated fat or sugar have very negative effects on your mental health.
So what should you be eating? You’re going to want to follow the same rules as a heart healthy diet.
Start by ditching the sugary, fat, and processed foods and reach for fruits, vegies, whole grains, and healthy fats. Keeping a food journal can also help you better understand where you need to make adjustments in your diet.
One of the most recommended supplements I’ve seen for brain health is Omega-3. Studies have shown that increasing Omega-3 intake to up to 2,000 mg a day can improve your mental health, this includes reducing anxiety and depression (check with your doctor of course before starting them). While more research needs to be done there are studies that show an Omega-3 deficit can cause psychiatric problems.
Getting less than six hours of sleep a night? I think you can see where I’m going with this. It always seems like there just aren’t enough hours in the day. It’s just so tempting to stay up late so you can play that game or finish that project. We all know that not sleeping is bad for us, I mean it makes you feel like total crap and can lead to you depending heavily on caffeine.
Although it is not completely understood there is a definite connection between not sleeping and mental illness. According to www.health.harvard.edu/ a poorly rested mind is more likely to have negative thoughts while a rested one is less emotionally vulnerable.
To fix your sleep patterns you need to first understand why you can’t sleep. There are a ton of reasons you probably can’t sleep such as stress, diet, distractions, or simply insomnia. Pay attention to the four hours before you go to bed and ask yourself these questions:
- What time are you going to bed?
- What are you eating or drinking? Does it contain a lot of sugar and caffeine?
- What activities are you doing? Are you exercising or increasing you heart rate?
- Are you using your phone, tablet, or computer right before you fall asleep?
- How are you feeling?
- Did you take any medications?
- Is your room dark and quiet?
- Do you sleep in every morning or take frequent naps?
- Have you tried several different methods to help you sleep but nothing works?
Asking yourself these questions will help you narrow down the cause of your sleepless nights so you can start making adjustments or least explain it clearly to a doctor.
Over Working Yourself
Whether you’re trying to catch up with other people or you just don’t know when to let yourself rest over working yourself is one of the worst things for your mental health. Everyone has different limits, you should never push yourself so hard that you don’t find joy in daily life. It is so important to get to know yourself and your limits.
If going a healthy pace that doesn’t leave you emotionally or physically drained isn’t good enough for the people around you then changing your environment, career path, class, or schedule will benefit you in the long run.
My whole life I was always hard on myself for not being able to keep up with the people around me. It was only when I accepted my personal limits and worked hard on my strengths that I was able to become successful. I also found a job that fit my needs perfectly, it took a while but they key is to give yourself permission to fail and never stop trying.
One of the best pieces of advice you will ever receive is get to know yourself. It doesn’t matter if everything in your life seems out of control if you know yourself, your limits, strengths and weaknesses you will always find a way through your problems. Knowing yourself makes it easier for you to notice when things are not right and also gives you the ability to properly communicate your problems with someone that can help you.
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