With May being Mental Health Month, it’s important to understand and spread awareness of mental health issues ranging from anxiety to depression. As such, Mental Health America’s 2018 focus is Fitness #4Mind4Body. Being healthy is a whole-body experience. When we eat well, exercise and make good life choices, we tend to feel better both physically and emotionally.
When talking about health, it’s necessary to look beyond a strict focus on heart, liver or brain health to encompass whole health. It becomes necessary, then, to use the tools and resources available to us to benefit our minds and bodies together. This year’s theme is Fitness #4Mind4Body, with the focus being on what we can do to navigate our personal journeys to health and wellness as smoothly as possible.
Mental Health America is urging people to take the #4Mind4Body Challenge to make small changes – both physically and mentally – every single day. The goal is to take big strides in your overall health and wellbeing. Visit mentalhealthamerica.net/challenge for the challenge of the day, where you can share your progress by posting with #4Mind4Body.
How Diet and Nutrition are Related to Mental Health
The quality of the food you eat impacts your overall physical and mental health. While most of us know unhealthy diets can lead to big health problems like heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer, many of us are not aware that they can also translate to worsening mental health. You really are what you eat! Studies show that those who consume a diet high in whole foods such as fruits and veggies, nuts, grains, fish and unsaturated fats are 35 percent less likely to develop depression than those who don’t.
Additionally, eating processed, fried and sugary foods can increase your risk of developing depression by up to 60 percent.
Exercise and Mental Health
Hand in hand with good nutrition is exercise. Engaging in just one hour of exercise a week can reduce mood, anxiety and substance use disorders. Also interesting to note is that those who engage in regular physical activity every day are less likely to develop depression, panic disorders and phobias.
In addition to maintaining mental fitness, exercise has been found to lower stress, reduce fatigue, improve alertness and enhance overall cognitive function. When stress affects the brain, the rest of the body feels the impact. Exercise produces endorphins that improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. This is good news for the 40 million adults in this country who suffer from anxiety disorders. Researchers say that a 10-minute walk each day is just as effective as a 50-minute workout in terms of lowering rates of anxiety and depression.
Going Beyond Health: Fighting Stigmas
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) continues its goal of eradicating the stigma that comes with mental illness. During May, NAMI is promoting the theme of CureStigma in its efforts to raise awareness of mental health. One in five Americans suffers from mental health conditions, and the stigma that comes with it creates an environment of fear, shame and silence that keeps many people from seeking the help and treatment they need to get better.
Contact Comprehensive MedPsych Systems
If you suffer from anxiety, depression or any other mental health issue, we encourage you to get help with Comprehensive MedPsych Systems. Contact us at one of our many locations or fill out the online form.