When we talk about health, we’re usually talking about things related to our body our muscles, our gut, our back, etc. But one part of the body that often gets overlooked in discussions on health is the brain. Our brains play an integral role in regulating our bodies, and specifically, our moods. When something’s not right mentally, it’s common for that to manifest itself physically. Consider that mental health issues like depression are linked to increased risk of death from heart disease and cancer, for example.
Luckily, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Developed and promoted by Mental Health America, the nation’s top non-profit dedicated to addressing issues around mental health. Started in 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month provides an opportunity and platform to discuss mental health issues, making it a great time to discuss why mental health is as important as physical health, and how to keep mentally fit.
It Starts In The Gut
We’ve talked in the past how good gut health is integral to living healthy, and it turns out it’s also important for good mental health, too. For instance, it’s common for us to feel sick in our stomachs when we’re under extraordinary stress, giving us cramps, diarrhea or other gastro-intestinal disorders. Likewise, if our microbiome is out of order, we may be experiencing other behavioral symptoms that indicate our mental health could be better. These include teeth grinding, lethargy, procrastination, substance abuse, and other negative behaviors.
You Feel What You Eat
So where does gut health come from? What we eat, of course! Nutrition and mental health have an extremely strong connection (thanks to our microbiome), and numerous studies have found connections between deficiencies in diet and depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Taking a good look at what you eat, and making sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need for a clear, healthy mind, is a good first step to better mental health.
Be Sure To Get Your Zzzzs
Another tactic for achieving both a healthy body and a healthy mind is ensuring you get enough, high quality sleep. Research has shown that sleep helps our brains clean themselves of toxins. These toxins contribute to mental fogginess, and buildup over time due to lack of sleep can lead to other serious health issues both physical and mental. Check out this blog post from earlier this year if you want more tips on getting a good night’s sleep.
Want more ideas of how to participate in Mental Health Awareness Month?
Check out their #4MIND4BODY Challenge for a full month of activities. Of course, if you’re suffering from a mental health disorder, it’s good idea to seek the help of a professional. Contact us to discuss any issues you may be facing in your daily life.