5 Ways Lifestyle and Diet Affect Mental Health

Maintaining good mental health is as important as looking after your physical health. Just like taking care of your body requires living a healthier lifestyle, there are things you can do to keep your mind and emotions healthy. By learning more about how different aspects of your life affect your mind, you can maintain a stronger, happier, and healthier mind.

You Are What You Eat

We have known for some time that the foods we eat affect the organs in our body differently, but we're also starting to understand that the brain is also impacted. Research has already discovered that heart-healthy foods also have positive effects on the brain and, conversely, foods that contribute to heart disease and diabetes may also play a factor in the development of degenerative cognitive illnesses. People who eat foods high in unhealthy fats and sugars are also more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

Essential Oils Can Affect Mood

While studies have shown the positive effects or aromatherapy, that's not to say you should run out and grab a handful of essential oils. Instead, learning how each scent affects the mind and mood can help you enjoy the most significant benefits of this type of therapy. For instance, lavender is excellent for relaxation and stress relief, while lemon should be used as an energy booster. Each scent has a distinct effect on the mind and body, so learning more about what benefits each type of essential oil offers can help you bring more balance to your emotional state.

Sleep Affects Your Emotional State

Laying in bed for eight hours isn't good enough if you're not spending that time in a deep, regenerative sleep. If you're having difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, your mind and emotional state will be affected. You'll become irritable, forgetful, and less productive at work. Sleep experts recommend shutting off all electronic devices one hour before bedtime and using that time to read, meditate, or take a warm bath. If these relaxation techniques don't work for you, you should consult your doctor.

Tidy Your Living Space

In the first episode of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, it features a couple named Rachel and Kevin who are experiencing a lot of frustration and anxiety related to their cluttered home. Marie helps them tidy their living space with the KonMari method, and at the end of the episode, they find that they feel much happier. Whether or not you use Marie Kondo's approach, take some time each week to tidy up, and you'll find that your emotions will seem clearer as well.

Physical Activity Keeps the Mind Active

There are a few ways that exercise can benefit the mind, though regular moderate to high-intensity workouts are necessary to benefit from your physical activities. Enjoying a variety of physical activities can challenge and strengthen the mind, which helps protect against cognitive decline as you age. Additionally, the brain releases "feel good" neurotransmitters as you exercise and that helps treat symptoms of depression and anxiety better than any drug.

As you start exercising, it's important to keep positive throughout the process. If you're exercising from a negative place or out of shame, then exercise will feel more like a chore than a source of relief.

These are just a few common ways that your lifestyle can affect your emotional and mental health. Just as engaging in these practices can improve your mental health, declining to live a healthier and more active lifestyle can cause serious health issues. Keeping a healthy mind is as important as maintaining a healthy body.

 

References:

    Essential oilsHealthy foods

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