Mastering the methods that can improve your mental health should be a daily occurrence, not just for Mental Health Awareness Month, but May is the best time to take stock of our lifestyles and ask ourselves if we are feeding our mind with the level of care we deserve.
Here, M&F looks at 5 ways to make positive changes to your mental health today, focusing on the mind-body connection and maintaining homeostasis.
Small steps can improve your mental health by leaps and bounds.
When we suffer from poor mental health, our level of motivation suffers, which makes us feel worse because of our inactivity. The idea that getting out of our comfort zone is great for our long-term happiness is a proven concept, and a study conducted in 2005 looked at over 275,000 people in 225 studies to show that those who sought new life goals were more likely to experience positive emotions and have greater self-confidence.
The good news is that making a positive change today can start with very small steps. Simple daily walking forces you to get off the couch and carry your own body weight, reducing the risk of high blood pressure, not to mention the confidence-boosting effects of increased muscle and endurance. , while losing fat. And, when you’re ready to take the next step, try interval walking where you undertake short bursts of walking above your normal pace, followed by a period of walking at your normal level. You’ll get rid of that brain fog in no time, feeling clearer and more positive. Heck, even your memory will improve. “My laboratory tested memory benefits enrolling 64 sedentary but cognitively healthy seniors in our community program offered at our local seniors’ gymnasium; the Physical Activity Center of Excellence (PACE),” says Dr. Jennifer Heisz, brain health expert and director of the NeuroFit Lab. The exercise sessions were supervised three times a week for 12 weeks. As participants’ fitness improved, we increased the speed or incline of the treadmill to reach the target intensity. After just 12 weeks of interval walking, seniors’ memory had improved by 30%, and this better memory was directly linked to their fitness gains. During the toughest intervals, you’ll know you’re working hard enough when it’s hard to carry on a conversation. researchers call this the “Talk Test.”
Move your myokines to improve your mental health
We’ve all heard of the “runner’s high” experienced as a result of the endorphins released by the brain when we exercise intensely, but medical science is also discovering that your muscles also secrete chemicals that can benefit your mental health.
“When we exercise, our muscles release these amazing factors called myokines, which facilitate crosstalk between muscles and other organs in the body, including the brain,” says Dr. Jennifer Heisz. Myokines are proteins that are released by our muscle cells following their contraction. It is believed that there are over 100 different myokines, with more being identified all the time, and their benefits appear to include improved metabolic function, tissue repair, and brain health.
“Myokines provide a mechanism by which exercise can impact brain function to alter mood and cognition,” says Dr. Heisz. “One of the ways myokines impact brain function is by reducing systemic inflammation. This is especially beneficial for people with drug-resistant depression, whose low mood is linked to high levels of inflammation.
Your Gut Health Can Improve Your Mental Health
The digestive tract (the walls of the long tube of your gut) is often described as the “second brain” and is thought to play a role in our emotional well-being. Therefore, it stands to reason that taking care of our gut health will have a positive impact on our overall happiness.
“Good gut health and function depends on a number of things,” says Dr. Bill Cole, the founder of Key Cellular Nutrition and the Cellular Health Accelerator program. “On the one hand, a healthy gut lining acts as a barrier preventing things from the gut that should stay out, and also keeping things inside that aren’t supposed to go. Leaky gut, otherwise known as leaky gut, is epidemic in our society. This is where damage to the intestinal lining creates microscopic holes that allow things like undigested proteins, toxins, bacteria, and viruses to flood the bloodstream. This can create an immune response that can lead to autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammation throughout the body. Leaky gut can be caused by poor diet, too much stress, and certain medications like antibiotics.
Eating a whole diet, consisting of grass-fed and organic meats, wild-caught fish, pastured chickens and eggs, raw dairy, organic fruits and vegetables is one of the best things. what we can do to help heal damaged intestines. Taking probiotics and eating raw fermented vegetables will also help repopulate the gut with good bacteria. A tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water before a meal or two each day can aid digestion and healing. Additionally, the amino acid L-glutamine powder has been shown to help heal the intestinal lining as well. The benefits of a healthy gut are numerous. Science shows that Hippocrates, who is the father of modern medicine, may have found something since he believed that all disease begins with an unhealthy gut. I don’t know if that’s entirely true, but almost 40 years in the health field has shown me that so many conditions have their roots in an unhealthy gut.
Get a good night’s sleep for mind and body
If your mom always said, “Things will be better after a good night’s sleep,” then she was definitely onto something. Exercise and good sleep go hand in hand when it comes to maintaining a strong mind and body.
“The more we move during the day, the better we sleep at night,” says Dr. Heisz. “This is because exercise breaks down ATP (the cellular energy currency) into adenosine, which is detected by the brain and triggers sleep. As we age, we are more likely to experience symptoms of insomnia, which include difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep We may spend less time in deep sleep, which means the brain has less time to cool off or recharge at night, making it harder for us to think and feel great the next day. Scheduling exercises at the same time each day can help synchronize your circadian rhythm so that you fall asleep faster. You can also train according to your chronotype. For example, “night owls” those who want to wake up earlier can try exercising in the morning or early afternoon, while “morning larks” can try exercising in the evening.
Boost your metabolism while improving your mental health
If sleep isn’t on the cards when it comes to rejuvenating your energy levels, make sure you’re fueling yourself with the right nutrients and don’t overload yourself with highly processed comfort foods that will leave you feeling sluggish. after that initial rush. “Hormones play a very important role in our energy levels,” says Dr. Cole. “For example, the hormone insulin is responsible for driving glucose into the cell, which is an important fuel source.
Additionally, thyroid hormone; T3 is our main metabolic hormone. When produced in sufficient quantities, T3 can enter the cells it is responsible for, thereby increasing metabolism. Metabolism is the chemical reaction in the cell that converts food into energy, so the person will have good energy, lose weight more easily, and achieve good bowel and brain function. The old adage that an apple a day keeps the doctor away may not be quite true, but it points to something that is: whole, natural foods and a healthy lifestyle can greatly lessen the need for visits to the doctor’s office. the doctor and medication as we age. Our trump in the hole is that we have a body designed for health and healing. Science calls this homeostasis. It is our body’s natural ability to adapt to constantly changing internal and external environments. We can create the environment within us that supports homeostasis or we can create an environment that interferes with it.