Staying active and motivated throughout the day, week, or month can be difficult. This becomes even harder to achieve when we neglect our mental well-being. Unfortunately, for many people emotional wellness comes second to physical health. However, our mental well-being is intrinsically linked to our bodies’ health, and keeping our minds relaxed and well is essential to feeling healthy.
Your body responds to the way you think, feel, and act. If you are struggling with chronic stress, your hormones can be thrown off balance. Your immune system can also be negatively impacted, making you more susceptible to catching colds and other infections.
- Back pain
- Change in appetite
- Weight loss or gain
When you are going through a difficult time, it is important to remember that there are things you can do to keep your mind and body healthy.
Here are some keys to emotional wellness:
- Acceptance: Accept and recognize the strong negative emotions you are experiencing. Many times, people will allow negativity to insidiously take hold of their lives because they are unwilling to accept, share, and open up about their emotions. Find the root cause of your sadness, anxieties, and stress, perhaps with the help of a therapist, and talk about it with friends and family.
- Stay positive: Part of your routine should be to make positive affirmations about yourself and your life. Try to avoid guilt, blame, and shame, and remember that everyone makes mistakes. Look on your past as a lesson you can grow from. Do not let it drag you down.
- Be active: Staying active when you are tired and depressed is hard, but keeping an active routine can help you escape the darkest places. Exercise has been proven to not only decrease stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine, but has also been shown to increase feel-good chemicals known as endorphins. A simple walk around the park is a good start—not only are you helping your body to relax, but you enjoy a breath of fresh air as well as the beauty that nature has to offer. It can also help to find a sport or activity that appeals; this will make it easier and more fun to stay active. In order to get the full stress-relieving benefits of exercise, try to stay active for 30 minutes or more at a time.
- Eat healthier: Studies have shown that high blood sugar can often lead to irritability. You also have to be careful of low blood sugar, which can cause anxiety, depression, and lethargy. Low levels of vitamins, minerals, and low intake of fatty acids and omega-3s can also impact your mental health. Having low levels of vitamin D can lead to mood swings. Try to eat well-balanced meals, but do not feel pressured to do a complete overhaul. Start slow. The healthier you eat, the more energy you will have to get through your day!
- Slow down: Another important thing we forget when we are going through a difficult situation is to take time out to relax. Do not see it as something you can do, but rather as something you should do. Doing something you love, like a hobby, reading a book, meditating, or taking a hot bath, can change your mood instantly. Finding quiet time can be a challenge, but do not fret—just take a few minutes out of your busy and stressful day to sit, relax, and take a few deep breaths. Remember that staying mentally fit is as important as being physically fit for a happier, healthier life.
- Exercise. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.stress.org.uk/Exercise.aspx
- Mind/Body Connection: How Your Emotions Affect Your Health. (2010). Retrieved from http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/emotional-wellbeing/mental-health/mind-body-connection-how-your-emotions-affect-your-health.html
- Smith, Melinda; Segal, Robert; and Segal, Jeanne. (2014). Improving Emotional Health: Strategies and Tips for Good Mental Health. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/improving-emotional-health.htm
- Tartakovsky, Margarita. (2012). 15 Tips to Boost Your Well-Being and Happiness. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/lib/15-tips-to-boost-your-well-being-and-happiness/00010428
- White, Donna M. (2013). Improving Your Emotional Health through Healthier Eating. Retrieved from http://psychcentral.com/lib/improving-your-emotional-health-through-healthier-eating/00015925
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