Believe it or not but physical and mental health go hand in hand. Being in our optimal health takes work on all aspects of life. Beginning our day with the appropriate nutrition affords the ability to have clear thoughts, energy and free from aches and pains associated with a poor diet. In addition, to focusing on ones diet getting the right amount of physical exercise allows the body to stay in optimal condition. It also helps to move chemicals around in the body needed for energy, digestion and mood control.
Those basic behaviors done daily help to restore the body and keep the system working as intended. Think of our bodies like an automobile. You can’t just get into your car day in and day out and drive it. Maintenance and fuel are essential to keeping your car in good condition. The body is our personal vehicle that requires nurturance and care.
How to care for our bodies as the foundation of optimal physical health which lead to ideal mental health.
Eat Enough Nutrient Rich Foods
As I mentioned above food is at the heart of our existence. I don’t mean this in a mannerism that suggests overeating but rather getting enough of the good stuff. No mystery here – get enough green stuff which is infused with essential vitamins, water to help the body keep hydrated and able to keep things circulating, and food that helps increase energy.
Almonds are full of magnesium and vitamin-B which are essential to good energy levels.
Popcorn which is a great whole grain snack that is packed with fiber and no blood sugar crash associated with other snack foods.
Peanut butter is high in good fats and protein which equates to satisfaction. It also helps to maintain stable blood sugar. Look for natural versions that are likely to have less added sugars.
Salmon is great for boosting the brain as it contains omega-3’s which are known to reduce depression and improve your mood. Salmon has some great health benefits aside from mood management such as being a good source of protein which keeps you full and can lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol.
Bananas are a great healthy snack that are filled with fiber, vitamin B6 and potassium. These supplements help one to stay full and help muscles to recover from a workout as potassium is sweat out during a workout and a banana will help to quickly replace what is lost which may help reduce muscle cramping.
Kale contains an amino acid known as L-tyrosine which has been identified as helping keep you alert and fiber which helps keep you full and keeps blood sugar stable.
Oatmeal is high in fiber, which again equates to satiation and lasting energy. In addition, the fiber content contributes to maintaining stable blood-sugar levels and will help you maintain energy making this a perfect breakfast choice.
Pistachios combine protein, fiber and good fats making for a perfect snack or an on the go filler to help reduce poor food choices. Though they are delicious make sure to not overeat these filling luscious nuts as they are calorie dense meaning just 25 of the total up to 100 calories.
Hummus is a great filling dip as the main ingredient is garbanzo beans or chickpeas, which are a great source of protein and fiber. Again fiber and protein help you to stay full and stabilize blood-sugar that helps boost energy.
Greek yogurt provides sometimes double the amount of protein that is in a regular yogurt. Alone it is a great source of energy and will keep you full but be careful of the toppings that may make your snack even more delicious as yogurt can become very unhealthy if not properly paired with nutrient rich extras.
Workout At Least 30 Minutes A Day
Exercise has been known to help reduce depression, anxiety and stress. Working out helps release important endorphins, help reduce inflammation in the brain, promotes relaxation and can serve as a good distractor. Tense muscles associated with stress and anxiety can also be relieved through regular exercise.
In addition, exercise has other great benefits such as the same feel good endorphins released when exercising also has been know to improve concentration and mental sharpness as well as stimulating growth of new brain cells ultimately slowing down the age-related mental decline. When we feel good and look good our self-esteem is likely to follow – exercise is a great booster in that department. You don’t have to work out and become a body builder but small gains such as a reduced mid-section or increased stamina can help to enhance ones sense of self. Instead of reaching for drugs and alcohol when adversity hits, exercise is a healthy way to manage stressors while maintaining a health immune system and cutting the impact of the stress felt.
Get At Least 8 Hours Of Sleep
Obviously sleep helps our bodies recover from daily activities. In addition, sleep helps our mind consolidate memories, which help to preserve our minds abilities as we age. Listening to your body is vital, for example if you are extremely fatigued on your day off take a nap, your body is asking for it. Sleep disorders have been linked to many mental health disorders and may impact the severity of the disorder with sleep deprivation. Monitoring sleep and making vital changes may make a world of difference in your mood and overall well being.
- Lifestyle changes such as reducing or monitoring caffeine intake can help improve sleep quality. In addition, alcohol and nicotine impact the sleep-wake cycle. Alcohol affects the nervous system as acting as a depressant, however once it wears off so does ones fatigue. Thereby, drinking during the day may produce unneeded naps or dosing off which essentially affects the sleep cycle at night.
- Physical activity brings on fatigue and helps overall sleep quality.
- Sleep hygiene is how one cares for their sleep patterns. It has been thought that insomnia is learned by poor habits such as a haphazard bedtime, using the bedroom for more than sleep and sex, and sleeping with the television or lights on. It is recommended if you are suffering from a form of insomnia to use a technique known as sleep restraining where you stay awake longer ensuring fatigue before going to sleep and restricting daytime naps. Also, getting into a habit of relaxation techniques can help to reduce stress associated with bedtime allowing sleep to come on easier. Some forms known to work are meditation, guided imagery, deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation.