Mental Health

Mental illness sucks. That’s the only way to truly describe it and capture my honest feelings on it at the same time. It affects everything you do, think, and feel. It encroaches on your life and before you know it, you’re unable to function like the rest of the society.

This is what millions of Americans are dealing with daily. They suffer in silence as the rest of the country continues on in ignorance.

In this series, I hope to help eliminate a small bit of stigma by informing the public audience about mental illnesses from both a personal and an informational standpoint. As someone diagnosed with depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and borderline personality disorder, I have plenty of personal experience to go on. Mental illness affects both one’s mental and physical health. In the first chapter of this series, I’d like to give a few tips for keeping yourself mentally healthy. You’ll notice many of these tips go hand-in-hand with proper physical health as well. This is an important correlation to realize: that one’s physical and mental health are intrinsically connected.

Eating Right

Proper diet is an essential part of being both physically and emotionally healthy. You may notice that when you eat badly, you feel the same. Keeping your diet filled with vegetables, whole grains, and protein will keep your body and mind happy.

Exercise

Physical activity releases endorphins. Endorphins are brain chemicals that make us happy. You + Exercise = Endorphins = Feeling good. It’s a rather simple equation.

Setting Aside “Me Time”

Even the busiest people must have fifteen minutes in a twenty-four hour day to spend on themselves. It’s the most important time of the day. You can do whatever it is that makes you happy. Read a book, meditate, walk the dog, take a hot bath, whatever it is as long as its just for you.

Positive Affirmations

At first I thought this was a bunch of BS too, but it honestly works. By repeating over and over a phrase like “I will stop procrastinating today.” (a personal favorite) or “I am a strong person.” you are not only meditating on that phrase but the phrase is ingrained in your subconscious. Some call it the Law of Attraction, but I just call it common sense now.

Sleep!
Getting at least eight hours sleep is a necessity for good mental health. If you are exhausted, it’s not very conducive to a good mood. Sleeping too much, doesn’t help either. A major sign of depression is sleeping more than usual. Personally I slept twelve to fourteen hours a day when I was depressed. Keep a balance and try to sleep at the same time every night.

There are so many more helpful tips for keeping yourself mentally healthy that perhaps I will add in some other part of this series. In the meantime, try to incorporate these elements into your life so you can keep yourself and your brain healthy.

How to Stay Healthy

So, rather than aiming at a balanced diet or a balanced workout or techniques to balance your mind; one needs to find a balance between all these three factors for healthy living. Here are some tips on staying healthy physically and mentally, which I have personally tried and tested.

How to Stay Fit Physically?

Diet: Try to eat as much as fruits and vegetables as you can. Fruits and vegetables provide enzymes to the body, which help to absorb the nutrients from your meal which is your main course. Drink as much water as possible throughout the day. The requirement of water is 1 liter per 45 pounds of weight. Try to eat as many types of cereals you can. Keep enhancing your diet plan by learning about different healthy foods.

Exercising: There are very few people who will go for exercising to maintain their health. Mostly people will initiate in some exercise due to weight loss or some other health problem. No matter which type of exercise you take up, whether it is just walking or jogging try to follow it regularly. The best exercise in my opinion is swimming which is almost injury-free, boosts metabolism, helps to build lean muscles, and improves flexibility.

Advanced Tips: If you are suffering from some health condition, which is as minor as the common cold or something serious like a sports injury, then try to understand the causes behind the health condition and try to avoid the causes, rather than popping pills to treat the health condition. For example, to avoid common cold load yourself with vitamin C rich food (Indian gooseberries, amla is one of the best source of vitamin C). To prevent any muscle soreness or injuries, make sure you do a good warm-up before any exercise and perform stretching after the workout.

How to Keep Yourself Healthy Mentally?

Breathing: Deep breathing is not only good for your lungs, but also can be used to calm your mind. Many meditations involve breathing as a technique. Just breathe your way out through stressful situations. By which I mean, take a deep breath whenever you get stressed, and breath out. Repeat it around 10 times.

Meditation: There are various techniques of meditation. Instead of following a spiritual or religious person, try to experiment with different techniques of meditation, and then whichever you feel suits you try to practice that technique for an hour a day. The various techniques for meditation are tantra, yoga, Zen, vipassana, Tibetan, Buddhist, etc.

Take a Break: This is something which everybody needs and should use for stress relief. Whenever you think something you have become overloaded with your work, studies, or responsibilities take a break. Plan a small vacation alone or with a friend or go to a garden and switch off your cell phone. Just forget everything and enjoy watching the trees, birds, people, etc.

It will not always be possible to follow these tips on a daily basis or regularly. So, try to eat as much healthy food as possible, get around 20 minutes of exercise minimum, whether it is just plain walking or climbing stairs, and try to learn some meditation and practice it for minimum half an hour a day.

Fasting Tips and Tricks

Fasting is the act of abstaining from water, food, or both for a certain period of time. It helps reduce medical and other problems that people may experience. It is used as a tool by many to reduce weight, detoxify, and improve the overall health. However, one should fast in a disciplined manner, and follow the basic tips in order to obtain good and quick results.

Tips
One should begin fasting with a moderate approach. The idea behind it is to prepare or condition the body slowly before moving towards a higher level.

One should get rid of alcohol and other addictive items such as nicotine and caffeine before commencing to fast. Abstinence from eating sugar, poultry products, and red meat is also important. It is necessary to avoid chewing gums, hard candies, and mints since these items are responsible for releasing digestive enzymes and increasing the appetite. Inclusion of fruits in the diet while simultaneously limiting the intake of nutrient supplements helps adjust the body to the fasting schedule easily.

In order to avoid irritation, headache, and other such symptoms which may occur in the initial days, one should have a single meal in a day at 3 pm and include juices, water, fruits, and vegetables in the diet. If one is thinking about juice fasting, care should be taken to drink fresh juices. These juices should not be stored for more than 24 hours since they lose their nutritional and therapeutic value. Hypoglycemic patients would require someone to supervise and schedule a fasting-diet plan. The intake of protein juices should be allowed in such cases.

One of the important tips is to drink sufficient water before the fast begins. The loss of fluids during the fast takes a toll on the body and creates problems in completing the fast successfully.

The use of natural diuretics in the diet helps lose the excess fluids, which in turn helps reduce body weight. Juniper, dandelion, and ginger are the commonly used diuretics.

Reforming and controlling the diet in a proper manner is the key to lose weight fast. Tips for losing weight include the incorporation of raw food items in the diet. One should avoid eating cooked legumes and cereals. The main advantage of doing this is that the result (weight loss) is obtained in a shorter time as compared to other methods or techniques. It is necessary to control the diet even after successfully completing the fasting period since overeating would result in acquiring the weight quickly.

Tips for Water Fasting
The practice of water fasting helps detoxify the body as well as reduce the excess weight. A 30-40 day water fast can help reduce as much as 60 pounds of weight. Since the digestive system gets rest and doesn’t use up energy which is otherwise needed in digestion, the body gets time to repair the damaged cells and tissues.

Before one begins with this type of fast, adequate rest needs to be taken. Lesser the responsibilities and work pressure, the better it is for the successful completion of the fast. One might experience blackouts and dizziness during the fasting period. Since the heart gets maximum rest during this period, one should be careful even while standing up. The advantage of water fast over the other types is that the degree or extent of hunger experienced is less in the former one.

Fasting is a healing process which helps improve the overall health and provides the necessary rest to the body (digestive system). Taking proper care and adopting the necessary tips on fasting will ensure that it’s easy to complete the fast successfully.

Why is Health Important

When we are talking of health, it is not just about a healthy body but also about sound mental health. Good health can be described as the condition where both our body as well as our mind are functioning properly. The main causes behind poor health conditions are diseases, improper diet, injury, mental stress, lack of hygiene, unhealthy lifestyle, etc. Over the past few years, our lifestyle has changed and we often tend to ignore the importance of healthy living in one way or the other.

Why is Health Important to Us?

There are several benefits of a healthy life. Your body becomes free from various forms of disorders and thus, you get a longer life. You can live a life without suffering from any aches, pain, or discomfort. In every sphere of your life, you will be able to perform to the best of your ability. Doing excellent work helps you to be a valuable member of a healthy society. Besides, when you are physically fit, it gets reflected on your face. So, you look attractive and start feeling good about yourself! If you have a fit body, then you can lead a physically active life even after growing old. This is because, the body can heal the regular wear and tear associated with aging faster. In short, health and wellness brings about a drastic improvement in the overall quality of your life.

Why is Health Important in the Workplace?

As an employee, you should take good care of your health, both in the workplace as well as at home. This will make you feel more energetic and you will be able to carry out both simple as well as strenuous tasks without pushing yourself too hard. As your mind and body is free from work pressure and mental stress, you can handle the daily chores at workplace with a positive attitude. You feel motivated to finish off the task at hand and will be interested to work on more number of things. Your mind develops a natural tendency to focus upon the positives and is not bothered much about the negatives. Most importantly, at the end of the day, you can sleep well and you do not have to start the next day with a body ache or joint pain or stomach upset. As a result, you do not need a medical leave too often and you will get your salary at the end of the month without any deductions!

Good health has a positive effect on the productivity of the employees. Therefore, an organization should also give the prior importance to the health care of its employees through its policies. When the organization is showing interests in the well-being of its employees, they in turn will also feel more responsible and loyal towards the organization. It improves employee retention, reduces absenteeism and cuts down on company’s health care costs.

Why is Health Important for Children?

Staying healthy is vital for proper growth and development of their mind and body. They require enough energy to spend the entire day in school. They should be able to focus in the classroom and fully participate in the activities on the field. For this, they need proper nutrition which includes carbohydrates, proteins, calcium, minerals, etc. Today, most parents have a basic knowledge of food and health related issues. However, they often fail to understand that regular medical check-up is a must for every child. This helps them to learn from the experts whether the child’s development in terms of height and weight is proper. They should also take the child for dental check-up and eye check-up on a regular basis. Even child behavior has to be monitored closely. This way any major health problem can be prevented in future.

Hope you have understood why is health important for every individual, young or old. It has a huge impact on your overall performance and efficiency. In other words, you have a better control over your life. For healthy living, a disciplined life is a must. You have to eat nutritious food and exercise regularly. Stay away from unhealthy habits like smoking and heavy drinking. It is also essential to keep the mind healthy by nurturing the right kind of thoughts and proper stress management.