When you discuss improving your health or living a healthy lifestyle, it is common for people to solely focus on the physical aspects. Though maintaining a healthy weight and staying physically fit are ideal, losing weight and looking great aren’t the only keys to living a healthier lifestyle. To be completely healthy from the inside out, one must also focus on their mental health.
What is Mental Health?
Your mental health is essentially your emotional well-being. It determines how you feel, think, and act, on a regular basis. Your mental health also impacts how well you handle stress, trials, tribulations, how you relate to others, and even how you make decisions.
If you’re not mentally well, functioning in everyday life becomes nearly impossible. It can negatively alter every aspect of your life. When you are not at your best mentally, you cannot focus, you’re less productive, you can’t sustain healthy relationships, and you cannot enjoy life.
Those who suffer from mental illnesses like anxiety, personality disorders, or depression, are more inclined to abuse substances like drugs and alcohol, isolate themselves from things they enjoy, and stop taking care of their physical health.
If you currently suffer from mental illness (or believe you do) and have experienced any of the above-mentioned symptoms/consequences as a result, you need to get help. You can talk to your doctor, enter a drug detox for men and/or women, join a support group, or schedule a few sessions with a therapist to get treated.
Factors That Impact Mental Health
The best way to improve your mental health is to have a clear understanding of what can have a negative impact on your emotional or psychological well-being. In educating yourself on these factors, you can take the necessary steps to avoid and/or reduce these factors for an enhanced mental state.
One factor that is essentially beyond your control is genetics. If there are members of your family that suffer from mental illness, the chances of you developing those same conditions in the future are increased.
Believe it or not, what you eat can have a negative impact on your emotional well-being. Just as your body needs vitamins, nutrients, and minerals to flourish, your mind needs the same. An improper diet or one filled with tons of processed foods, fats, salt, and sugar can cause hormonal imbalances which can lead to declined cognitive function and eventually mental illness.
Stress is a part of life. In many instances, it is also necessary to push us towards greatness. That being said, too much stress wears on the mind. Your body goes into flight or fight mode in which it releases high levels of cortisol. When your body is in this state for too long, it can result in burnout, anxiety, or depression.
Unforeseen Life Circumstances
There are things in life that are beyond your control. However, as you experience them, it can cause hormonal imbalances and emotional shifts that, if not dealt with, can lead to mental illness. This can include divorce or separation, a traumatic event, the loss of a job, the death of a loved one, or the diagnosis of a life-altering illness or disease.
Though studies are still underway, there has been some significant determination that those who do not get enough sleep are more inclined to have cognitive, psychological, and emotional troubles. Since sleep is required for the body to naturally heal and replenish itself, not sleeping on a regular basis reduces the body’s ability to recover. This, in turn, makes it difficult to cope with stress, make effective decisions, and perform regular cognitive functions.
For those interested in being healthier or improving their lifestyles, it will never be fully accomplished by focusing on the physical alone. Positive mental health is required to help you navigate both the ups and downs of life. So, to improve your emotional well-being, it is imperative to review the factors listed above and begin taking steps towards positive change.