Mental Health Help
There is a Mental Health Awareness campaign on at the moment which is a really good thing. It should be acknowledged and talked about and not a taboo with no shame or stigma attached to it. It’s not a choice. And sadly today, it seems like most people know someone with depression, anxiety or another mental health issue. You might not even be aware of those you know who have mental health problems, but unfortunately, I’m sure that there is someone you know who does. It seems to be a side effect of modern life.
So this post contains some tips/advice on how to help your mind feel happier and possibly the reason as to why you don’t feel as good as you could or once did.
Place one had on your chest and one on your tummy. Take a deep breath in. Which hand moves? The majority of us are ‘upper chest breathers’. This means that you don’t breathe properly. The hand over your tummy is the one that should move – the diaphragm – not your shoulders. By breathing with your shoulders, you are technically hyperventilating which upsets the carbon dioxide/oxygen levels in your blood stream. This can make us feel anxious, and foggy minded. If you sort your breathing out, you will hopefully notice a difference in your mental health.
Being deficient in minerals or vitamins will make play a huge part. The big ones are the B Vitamins, Zinc, Magnesium and Omega 3 which are so important to brain health. If you are vegetarian or vegan is it possible that you are at a higher risk of being deficient in B12 and Zinc as you don’t eat meat or eggs. The symptoms of magnesium deficiency are also the symptoms of depression. It may be that you need to eat more foods that contain these nutrients or have Epsom Salt baths so your body can absorb the minerals that way. You may need to take a daily multi-vitamin/mineral to keep everything topped-up. If your diet is high in carbohydrates, especially refined ones, pre-made packet food, crisps and chocolate etc, this will not be helping at all. I know that’s what we crave when we feel miserable…
If your intestinal tract isn’t working properly then your brain won’t be either. The link between the gut and brain is so important and what you eat and how you digest and absorb food has a huge impact on how you feel. Cutting out certain foods that upset your body such as gluten can be really beneficial. If you have taken medications long term like pain killers, antibiotics, antacids, steroids and more, your gut lining won’t be as healthy as it could be and you won’t be absorbing nutrients. Helping to restore balance to your gut with things like pro-biotics and herbs will not only help your mind feel better, but your body as a whole. If you feel bloated, are constipated (have a bowel movement in the evening or not daily), or are very gassy after eating these all indicate that your gut is not happy.
It doesn’t mean you have to go for a 10km run every day. Going for a 20-minute walk will help each day if you can manage it or a few times a week will also have a beneficial impact. Being in a green space makes us feel good at a biochemical level, and research has shown that being in woods/forests improves our immune system. I know it’s not always possible to go to a wood, but most places have some green, so go and find the nearest park/public garden etc near your work and go and sit in it every day! Even if it’s only for 5 minutes.
Essential Oils are incredibly powerful – never drink them! They work in various ways on the body. One way is through inhaling them as the chemicals that are in the oils get into the bloodstream and have an impact. When you breathe them in, they also have an impact on part of the brain that is linked to our emotions and makes us feel better. They also work when applied to the skin (mixed in with some oil like sunflower or coconut) as the skin absorbs the chemicals into the bloodstream. The citrus oils, lavender and rose are all very good at helping the mind and feeling better. (If you are on any medications make sure that they are safe to use).
Focus on What Makes You Feel Good
Blinding obvious I know, but it’s amazing how many people forget to do this, especially when we are so emotionally influenced by what we see on social media. (Remember, most people only post their ‘perfect’ life and the reality is often very different). So if Facebook upsets you, don’t look at it. Have your phone screensaver photo as something that makes you smile or feel good, no matter how many times you look at it. Distance yourself from those who suck and drain your good mood and energy. Surround yourself with those who make you feel better.
As a Naturopath, I have a toolbox full of therapies that may be able to help you. Contact me to find out about how I work and maybe able to help you.
Here is a link to my top tips to reduce stress.
I know this is so obvious and probably sounds a bit condescending… Don’t feel guilty or ashamed about it. Feeling like that will not help you feel any better.
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