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
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
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
Stress 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
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
goals, develop an action plan and set it in motion.
Dated 26 December 2014