Cultivating Strong Relationships
Human connection is at the core of good mental wellness. There are times we need to talk, cry, find ways to laugh and play or ask friends and family for encouragement.
Find a therapist, be a “therapist”
Psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” comes in many different forms. It can be a traditional appointment with a therapist, an online site, a support group and/or a talk with a trusted role model. Feeling like you have the undivided attention, time, and support is so important.
Treat Trauma and Grow Through Grief
Grief is not limited to the life and death of a loved one. Experiencing any sort of trauma or drastic change causes grief; grieving is a part of life. We need to take the time to treat our traumas. Then we may grow with it, carrying our grief rather than drowning in it.
Get Involved and Give Back
Dive into your communities and get involved. We know this is much easier said than done, meeting new people and making the effort to get out of your comfort zone is hard.
Get Grounded In Nature
Make sure you take the time each day to get up and outside. Spending time in nature and incorporating it into your daily environment can boost your mood and decrease your anxiety, along with many other health benefits.
Feed Your Body Well - What we put into our bodies matters. Having a healthy and balanced diet is important to provide your brain and body the nutrients we need.
Be sure to fill your plate with foods that help you feel better rather than foods that leave you feeling sluggish. Focus on natural, fresh food that comes from the Earth and limit the number of processed foods and sugar we put into our bodies.
When we eat also has an impact on how we feel:
Maintain a consistent meal schedule with healthy snacks in between
Keep in mind when you get hungry so you can plan ahead - don’t let yourself get hangry
Give yourself plenty of time to digest before bedtime; most studies recommend about 2-3 hours at the minimum
If you are experiencing persistent moderate to severe anxiety or depression, please consult your healthcare provider for the best plan of action in your unique case. Medication or more intensive treatment may be necessary based on professional opinion.
Our gut is a great indicator of how we are feeling, especially in relation to stress. Anxiety often causes a change in eating habits - some people lose their appetite, skip meals or feel the need to micromanage body weight. Others may find comfort in food, over-indulge or stress eat; feeling tired and insecure about their weight.
If you feel you aren’t managing your eating habits well, you are not alone. Keep in mind that our bodies are ever-changing and transforming; focusing on how we feel from our food choices will make us happier and healthier rather than focusing on how we look.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder, seek out help from a trusted loved one or health care professional.
Stay Hydrated - This simple suggestion is commonly overlooked. Drink water; 75% of brain matter is water, don’t skip out on the easiest way to protect it.
When we get dehydrated our brains get foggy and function at low energy resulting in mood changes, most commonly depression. Lack of water also puts extreme stress on our body, which in turn causes anxiety and other mood disorders to be triggered or heightened.
How much water you need depends on you as an individual as well as your lifestyle. It is recommended that we drink at least 8 glasses of water a day but if you are very active or in the heat for long you should increase your intake.
Moderation - Minimize your caffeine and alcohol intake; be mindful of how you feel during the withdrawal stages and seek help if your consumption gets out of control.
Know your limits and how alcohol affects your behavior. If you find yourself angry, sad, or anxious under the influence or during the withdrawal stages, you might want to reconsider your drinking habits.
There are many ways to change your consumption habits, try The Alcohol Experiment as a way to develop mindful awareness around your drinking practices. If you are struggling with addiction, talk to your family, friends, and health professionals - a support system is crucial in getting and staying sober.
Want to learn more? Recommendations on this topic:
This Is Your Brain On Food: An Indispensable Guide to the Surprising Foods that Fight Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ADHD, and More by Uma Naidoo
The Mind-Gut Connection: How The Astonishing Dialogue Taking Place in Our Bodies Impacts Health, Mood, and Weight by Emeran Mayer
Hanger Management: Master Your Hunger, Improve Your Mood, Mind and Relationships by Susan Albers
More, Now, Again: A Memoir of Addiction by Elizabeth Wurtzel
Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff