Mental Health – Lifestyle Interventions

Medical science has improved by leaps and bounds the world over. The treatment, care and concern for the sick, disabled and aged have also undergone a paradigm change. Despite this positive picture, mental heath stigma is still very strong and has a very debilitating effect on the self esteem of those affected by this ailment, even after she or he fully recovers. Whatever form and colour the ailment may assume, the toll it takes is severe. Sustaining mental health becomes a priority for individuals especially when stress and worries are present.

To intervene, one must identify the root cause or causes and sources of mental problems and tackle them positively. A few recommendations are summarized below:

  • Exercise regularly

Physical exercise does wonders to one’s mental condition, according to researchers. Exercise also keeps the body in good shape and this leads to positive effects on mental health. A person with poor health is invariably depressed and spends time brooding about his condition. Moreover, people who exercise regularly see a positive change in their physical condition and this raises their self-esteem and the way they are looked upon by others.

  • Ensure that you have a healthy diet

It is extremely important to have a healthy diet to be physically fit and, consequently, be mentally fit too. Regular meals, avoidance of junk food and avoidance of overeating are positive enablers to physical and mental health.

  • Interact with people

Isolation and loneliness can be disastrous to mental health. Interaction with close friends and the community can be an excellent antidote, preventive to loneliness, depression and can work do wonders to one’s mental makeup.

  • Have a spiritual bent of mind

One of the main remedies recommended for depression is involvement in activities that are spiritually fulfilling and in activities like meditation and relaxation that calm the mind and creates positive distractions. Here, one should differentiate between spiritual and religious activities, though the dividing line is blurred and thin. What is required is to try to elevate oneself to a higher thinking plane. Books that talk of spirituality without blending religion may be a good option.

  • Sleep well

Good sleep is an indicator of good mental health. Disturbed sleep patterns have been associated by researchers to mental disease and conditions like Alzheimer’s. It is said that Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, induces dreams that help reduce stress and help reduce possibilities of mental illness.

  • Tackle workplace disappointments positively

Workplace disappointments are quite common and for some, they may lead to a depressing state of mind. In such situations it is necessary to carefully and, without bias, evaluate whether one has really lost out on anything. Often, the answer is available, once this is done. In cases where one has consistently got a raw deal, it may be worthwhile to look for other options.

These are a representative, but not exhaustive, collection of potential causes that may affect mental health. The natural course of action to preserve mental health would be to take pre-emptive steps to counter the effects of these causes so that the more unpleasant action of taking reactive measures is avoided.

Positive changes in lifestyle are bound to have a lasting effect on one’s mental health, though they may, sometimes, be combined with medication and therapy in case of severe illnesses.