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Mental health is a complex issue. There is no singular treatment plan that can work for everyone. Each person’s needs are unique. Some will require intense therapy, others can make long-term changes with the right cognitive-behavioural habits. Many individuals need medication, while others experience benefits with a more natural approach.
The important thing is to work with your healthcare provider to discover the methods that work best for you. Some people can mitigate mild anxiety or depression with just these things, while others might need medication, psychotherapy, and more. If you’re using a natural approach as part of your mental health treatment, here are some of the things that can help.
If you are physically and mentally exhausted due to stress, you’re on your way to burnout. Too much stress lowers your immune system, causes other mental health issues like anxiety, and can cause physical illness. You’ll need to take active steps to lower your stress if you want better mental health. Some people are stressed due to a lack of work-life balance. Others have stress over health and financial concerns. It’s important to identify the things causing you the most stress and work to mitigate the problems.
Get more sleep
Did you know that most adults need 7–9 hours of sleep per night, but only get six hours or so? The effects of sleep deprivation include mood swings, disorientation, and anger. A good night’s sleep is a simple but effective way to improve mental health. It can reduce stress and other undesirable symptoms. Getting better sleep may be difficult for some people. Healthy sleep habits include putting technology away an hour before bed, avoiding caffeine late in the day, and sleeping in a dark room.
Eat healthy foods
Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and nuts and seeds are great for your mental health. They provide nourishment that your brain needs to function at the top level. When your brain gets what it needs it’s less likely to lead to issues that leave people struggling with their mental health. Some nutrient deficiencies are associated with mental health issues. To discover what you need, work with your healthcare provider.
For people with anxiety, caffeine can cause problems. Too much caffeine taxes the adrenal glands leaving people either feeling overanxious or depressed when they stop working altogether. Avoiding caffeine ensures that the adrenal glands can function the way they were intended. Caffeine can also impact sleep quality. Avoiding it or having only a little first thing in the morning ensures you aren’t going to impact your sleep.
There is a lot of debate around whether essential oils can help people with their mental health or not. Citrus fruits like oranges or lemons instantly uplift the mood. When diffused as an essential oil, the right combination of oils as recommended by an aromatherapist can help people who feel anxious or sad do better. It’s not a cure, but a simple natural thing you can do to improve your mental health especially on days you’re stuck indoors, or it’s dreary outside.
The happy high that people get from regular exercise is a great way to improve mental health. Exercise can help people reach health and fitness goals, improve strength in specific areas, and boost overall health. The mental health benefits of daily exercise include reduced anxiety, less depressed feeling, and more energy. Mental clarity and focus are also associated with regular exercise. People who set goals and reach them also feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. All these factors work together to improve mental health.
Therapy helps people naturally work through their mental health issues. A good therapist can help identify habits and behaviours that may be contributing to an individual’s mental health challenges. Therapists listen without judgement and assist people in working through deep-rooted hurts and struggles. They offer solutions where needed.
Therapists may also refer to doctors who can prescribe medications. While these medications are not typically natural, they can provide a great deal of benefit to people who need them. One thing that can make them more affordable is a discount card for prescriptions. While medication is not desirable for everyone, they can be combined with these other natural approaches to improve overall mental health.
Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health and well-being.
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