Good Mental Health: a Goal to Strike for in 2015

Good Mental Health: a Goal to Strike for in 2015

According to WHO good 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."

Simple lifestyle modifications can help one achieve good mental health and well-being. These modifications could be in the form of ...

  • Healthy Diet: According to experts, the Mediterranean diet is good for physical health and mental well-being. In 2013, a study of almost 11,000 middle-aged women found that those who followed a Mediterranean diet not only lived longer than control participants, but they also had better cognitive function and mental health. Another study published in the BMJ openly suggests eating five a day is linked to better mental well-being. It was accounted that, 35.5% of participants with high mental well-being ate five or more portions of fruits and vegetables a day, compared with only 6.8% who consumed less than one portion.

  • Exercise: It has been found that 9 out of 10 individuals who take part in green exercise activities, such as walking and gardening, report improved mood. Studies have shown that outdoor exercise can be as effective as antidepressants in treating mild to moderate depression and anxiety. Getting physically fit and achieving personal goals can boost our confidence and self-esteem and help combat feelings of hopelessness, which can often come over us when we're feeling low. Vigorous exercise (physical activity for 20 minutes or more at least 3 days a week) is positively associated with the incidence and prevalence of psychiatric disorders, particularly bipolar II disorder and alcohol dependence, according to US researchers report.

  • Snooze Adequately: People who have less than 5 hours sleep a night may be at higher risk of mental illness. Note that, too little sleep over a sustained period can leave you vulnerable to developing mental health problems.

  • Good Mental Health: a Goal to Strike for in 2015Stress Management: The human brain is made up of "gray matter" and "white matter" and scientists have noticed that the proportions of white versus gray matter is different in people with stress illnesses, compared with other people. But so far, scientists have not been able to explain why these differences in the brain occur. The researchers found that an excess of white matter is found in some areas of the brain in people who experience chronic stress. It seems that the experience of chronic stress causes more myelin-producing cells to be generated, with fewer neurons than normal. The consequence of this is that the excess of myelin causes the "delicate balance" of the brain to be disrupted, with communication between brain cells slipping out of their normal timing. Staying positive during difficult times may also reduce stress.

  • Accept & Love Yourself:  When you love yourself, just as you are RIGHT NOW, you are able to easily generate the emotions that motivate you to take care of yourself and do what needs to be done to be healthy every day. Life is far too rich, interesting and short to waste on hating yourself.

  • Care for Others: Helping out can make us feel needed and valued and that boosts our self-esteem. It also helps us see the world from another angle. That can help to put our own problems in perspective. Caring for a pet can improve your wellbeing too. The bond between you and your pet can be as strong as between people. Looking after a pet can bring structure to your day and act as a link to other people. Lots of people make friends by chatting to fellow dog walkers.

Look at the New Year as an opportunity to think about the improvements you'd like to make and then take concrete steps to achieve them. Go ahead, set realistic goals, develop an action plan and set it in motion.



Dated 26 December 2014


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