In our daily lives, we are always taking care of our mental, spiritual, physical, financial, occupational, and social health. These eight things control how we work, and if they are not well balanced and managed, anyone can have health problems. This has an effect on our ability to be successful and reach our life goals as a whole.
As a psychotherapist specializing in mental health and drug abuse treatment for many years in different settings, I’ve had a lot of personal experience counseling clients through the downsides, side effects, and bad outcomes that are related to their lifestyles and traditional psychotropic or “big pharma” medications. I’ve learned that most westernized mental health treatments don’t come without other unpleasant things. Too often, modern treatments for mental health and our modern society teach us that we need quick fixes to our health problems. But this idea doesn’t address the core problems and natural changes that help and keep mental health and wellness states positive.
Mental health healing and optimal health start with the natural ways you take care of yourself and manage your daily life within the eight dimensions of wellness. Natural solutions that work with your lifestyle can help you keep doing things that are good for your health and keep you from getting sick.
The tips below are natural ways to get and stay healthy.
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1. Eat vegetables
In the last few decades, the food and farming industries have learned more about the long-term benefits of eating plant-based foods. Plant-based eating means eating foods that are natural, unprocessed, and not changed in any way. This includes foods like whole grains, nuts, beans, and legumes, as well as foods that come from plants and seeds. Plant-based eating changes the complex ecosystem of bacteria and microorganisms in our gut, which has an effect on our mental health. The gastrointestinal tract, or “gut,” affects our stress levels and emotional health by talking to the hormones and nerves in the brain. It then sends this information to our brains.
By making a healthy environment in your “gut,” your body tells your brain that you are healthy, and vice versa. When our digestive health isn’t at its best, it affects how strong and stable our minds are. If your stomach is upset, your mind won’t be too far behind. When you eat plants and vegetables, your body uses less energy to digest, process, and filter them out. This affects how you feel and how much energy you have.
2. Regular high-intensity exercise in moderation
Physical activity not only makes you feel good physically, but it also helps your mind work better. Regular exercise is good for your mental health because it reduces anxiety, depression, and bad moods. It also boosts your self-esteem and helps your brain work better. When you work out, you get more blood to your brain and change how the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis sends messages to different parts of the brain. This communication that makes you feel good controls how you feel and how your memory works.
When you work out for 30 minutes or more at least three times a week, you can expect to have better sleep, less stress, better endurance, a better mood, more energy and stamina, more mental alertness, and to lose weight. How does that sound as a way to make your mind feel better?
3. Setting boundaries
Boundaries are the limits we set for ourselves, whether they are mental, emotional, or physical, that keep us healthy and safe. Boundaries help us figure out who we are and take care of ourselves. When our boundaries need work or don’t exist at all, we can expect to feel and act in ways that are less than ideal.
4. Practicing gratitude and be optimistic
Gratitude is a conscious inner expression, idea, and feeling in which we see good things happen, no matter what else is going on, and feel thankful. Gratitude is a self-guided practice that uses positivity to show how you feel inside and out. By practicing gratitude and making it a part of our lives, we naturally feel happier. When we practice gratitude, we also use positive psychology skills to move our attention away from negative emotions, thoughts, and cognitive traps that can lead to mental health problems.
5. Practicing mindfulness
Mindfulness is a mind-body practice that makes you more aware of what’s going on inside and outside of you. This makes you more present. This method helps us understand and accept our feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, no matter what they are. By putting your attention on and learning skills that help you understand and accept your inner self, you create a state of mental peace that makes it easier to pay attention to what’s really going on in the present. Mindfulness is a practice that is good for the whole person and has been used for a very long time.
Isolation from other people is a bad and unhealthy way to be alone. When this happens, you can feel alone, depressed, have a lot of anxiety, and have low self-esteem. Mental health and physical health are connected, so social isolation can also cause physical symptoms like not being able to sleep, a weakened immune system, and problems with your heart, blood vessels, and brain. Adults who are lonely or don’t have enough social connections are more likely to get heart disease, a stroke, or dementia.
To avoid these health problems, find ways to stay socially active and avoid being alone for long periods of time. By keeping up with positive and enjoyable social activities and interactions, you can keep your mood stable and improve it. You can also avoid many health risks. Those who are socially withdrawing and can’t be with other people in person can stay in touch and feel less alone by using technology like video calls, phone calls, emails, texts, and social media.
7. Managing stress
Stress is a rush of hormones and other chemicals in the brain and body that happens when we are under a lot of pressure or demand. Stress is a normal part of life, and it gets worse when people think they are in danger. Stress that lasts for a long time can hurt you and cause depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, problems with drugs, and physical symptoms like pain, muscle tension, high blood pressure, headaches, stomach problems, a weakened immune system, trouble getting pregnant, heart disease, and stroke.
You can deal with stress better if you set priorities, organize, and delegate tasks, and if you ask for help.
8. Ask for help when you need it
Every part of our physical and mental health is affected by our mental health. When you’re having trouble with your mental health, talking to a mental health professional can help you deal with hard times better. Today, there are a lot of mental health helplines and crisis hotlines, so help could be just one phone call away. Since the rise of technology, telehealth makes it easy for anyone to talk to a therapist from the comfort of their own home, car, or office. To use telehealth services, you need to have an email address and a camera-equipped smartphone, tablet, or computer.
The natural ways to take care of your mental health are just a few of the many natural ways you can take care of your mental health. With consistency, you can get closer to living a happy and healthy life and reach your best level of health.