Natural Ways to Support Your Mental Health
Mental Health Awareness Week in May 2018 is run by the Mental Health Foundation. As well as helping to raise awareness of how common mental health issues are, it offers a good opportunity for all of us to think about our mental health. Once we understand our state of mind, it is easier to maintain our equilibrium or – for those who are struggling with mental health problems – to take steps to try and improve your wellness naturally without resorting to medication.
Many of us take good mental health for granted, but if you have ever experienced a period of anxiety, stress, depression or any other mental illness, you will know that it can have a profound effect on your life.
By being aware of your own mental state, and being willing to talk about it with someone supportive, you can start to understand what makes you unhappy or anxious and how to start to tackle the problem and how to avoid the upsetting symptoms poor mental health can cause.
Life is full of things that cause stress – big and small. However, our stress responses aren’t always proportionate. For instance, being stuck in traffic and five minutes late for work can cause an adrenaline surge that will elicit the same physiological response as a life-threatening bear attack! It’s not surprising therefore that stress responses to everyday events can be psychologically and physically exhausting, as well as causing or exacerbating physical health problems such as high blood pressure or heart problems into the bargain.
The good news is that there are strategies and tools we can use to help tackle anxiety and stress naturally. Here are our top five tips to help support your mental health naturally, without recourse to drugs.
1. Eat Well to Support Your Mental Health
The old adage ‘healthy mind in a healthy body’ was coined for a reason. A healthy balanced diet is a key part of supporting your mental health. It’s important to take time to enjoy food too – it should be a pleasurable experience, with thought given to planning a meal and shared with friends or family whose company you enjoy wherever possible.
2. A Little Exercise Goes a Long Way
Even moderate exercise releases the brain’s natural feel-good hormone, endorphins. Advice from The Royal Collect of Physicians says, “We often talk about the mind and body as though they are completely separate – but they aren’t. The mind can’t function unless your body is working properly – but it also works the other way. The state of your mind affects your body.”
So – if you feel low or anxious, you may do less and become less active – which can make you feel worse and you can get caught in a harmful cycle.
- Firstly – any exercise is better than none.
- BUT a moderate level of exercise seems to work best.
- This is roughly equivalent to walking fast, but being able to talk to someone at the same time.
- You need to do about 30 minutes of moderate physical exercise on at least 5 days of every week. This can be done in one 30 minute session or broken up into shorter 10 or 15 minute sessions.
- This can not only lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, but also seems to help depression – so you get a double benefit.
- Don’t start suddenly – build more physical activity into your life gradually, in small steps.
3. Understand Your Mental Health
Knowledge is power, so understanding why you feel stressed or overwhelmed can help you start to get to the root of the problem. Of course life events such as illness, bereavement, relationship breakdown or exams are things you can’t control, but working out why you feel like you do can help. The Mental Health organisation has a set of questions that let you work out your mental health ‘score’.
4. Talk About It
When you feel depressed, the last thing you want to do is dump all your troubles on your nearest and dearest! However, as the Time to Change campaign explains, talking about your how you feel with someone you trust but who isn’t perhaps too close can often be the first step in recovering from a
5. Try Herbal Remedies for Stress and Anxiety
Herbal medicines containing St John’s Wort, have been used as a traditional way to help relieve symptoms of stress and to boost mood as part of a healthy lifestyle. St John’s Wort is believed by many to have natural antidepressant properties. Studies show that using the herb can help alleviate the symptoms of mood disorders.
HRI Good Mood St John’s Wort contains the highest dosage available in a product approved under the national Traditional Herbal Registration scheme. For your safety and for an assurance of quality, it is essential that you take a THR approved herbal remedy, and always read the patient information leaflet.
If these simple steps are not enough to help you feel as if you are in better control of your feelings and mood, or if you feel that stress, anxiety or depression are becoming overwhelming, you should always consult your doctor for professional advice.
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