Staying healthy is a difficult thing these days. We often devote a lot of time to keeping our body healthy. Eating well, exercising, and taking all sorts of different vitamins and supplements. But most of us forget about keeping our mind healthy. The effects of an unhealthy mind are not as obvious as an unhealthy body so we often neglect it. An unhealthy mind can lead to wider health problems and so it is important to take care of yourself mentally as well as physically. There are plenty of simple ways that you can maintain a healthy mind without having to completely reorganize your life.
Eating and Drinking Well
Eating properly is good advice generally, but there are some specific foods that can help maintain your brain. One of the most popular ones is Avacado. It’s everywhere at the moment, and for good reason. It’s delicious and packed full of goodness. It’s high levels of good fat promote healthy blood flow, which in turn, improves the health of your brain. There are plenty of ways you can prepare an Avocado so if it’s not already part of your diet, it’s worth adding.
Fish is another versatile ingredient that can massively improve your health and inspire a healthy mind. Deep water fish, in particular, are rich in Omega-3 which increases brain function. It has also been linked to an increased risk of depression.
Replacing snacks with nuts and seeds will increase your vitamin E levels. Vitamin E decreases the risk of brain deterioration in later life. There’s plenty of different ones to choose from and you can easily add them to breakfast in the form of nut butter.
Blueberries have been called a ‘superfood’. Although, this might be a bit of a misleading term, they do have a lot of health benefits and can help to keep your brain healthy. They have been linked to an improved capacity for learning and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s.
Avoiding Alcohol and Caffeine is also very important. You don’t need to cut it out completely but you should be aware of how much you are consuming. Drinking too much alcohol can have long term affects on your mind as well as your body. The occasional drink is fine but drinking too often will affect the chemical balance in your brain and can lead to feelings of depression or anxiety.
When it comes to Caffeine, a small amount is actually good for you. A few cups of tea everyday can help improve focus and mood, and the antioxidants in it can improve blood flow to the brain. However, if you have too much you could suffer from anxiety and trouble sleeping, which will impair the health of your brain even further.
Exercise brings a whole host of health benefits. You will lose weight, lower cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease to name a few. But exercising will also massively improve the health of your mind, and the results are almost immediate. After exercising, you will have more energy, improved memory, and a more positive outlook generally.
Exercise has been linked to a decrease in symptoms of depression and anxiety. When you get your body moving, your brain releases endorphins, the chemicals responsible for feelings of well-being.
It is also a brilliant way to relieve stress and avoid these kinds of problems in the first place. High levels of stress can cause a lot of health issues, so doing regular exercise to stop stress building is a brilliant way to keep your mind healthy.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Eating well and exercising can look after the physical well-being of your mind, but it is important to look after yourself spiritually. The benefits of meditation have been disputed in the past, but in recent years, the science to back it up has improved. People that meditate on a regular basis have much higher levels of concentration and improved memory.
It has also been proven that regular meditation sessions physically slow the process of brain ageing. A 2015 study showed that the levels of brain matter loss were significantly lower in the meditation group than they were in the non-meditation groups.
Anxiety levels have also been seen to drop drastically after only a short period of regular meditation. Having time for yourself to organize your thoughts can really put things into perspective and stop you from stressing over insignificant things. As you become more experienced, you will be better equipped to deal with your own negative emotions, and avoid letting them build up and overcome you.
Fitting meditation into your daily routine is not difficult. You only need to do it for sessions of around ten minutes, so you can easily get it in in the morning or before bed.
Avoid Negative Influences
Avoiding negative influences is very important because, no matter how hard you’ve been working to keep your mind healthy, you’ll be fighting an uphill battle if you surround yourself with negative influences. Unfortunately there are plenty of them out there.
The media is one of the biggest negative influences in all of our lives. We are constantly bombarded by stories of pain and suffering. You might not realise that it is affecting you that much, but it will increase negative thinking. It is important to keep up to date with the news, of course, so there’s no need to cut it out completely. Just try to avoid it as much as possible and when you do watch it, be aware that it is designed to be as negative as possible.
Negative people are a lot more difficult to cut out of your life but if you are on a journey to a healthy mind, it is vital to remove these negative influences from your life. You will subconsciously pick up on the attitudes and thought processes of the people you spend a lot of time with. There are probably some people in your life that leave you feeling pessimistic after talking with you, or encourage you to involve yourself with negative behaviours. Unfortunately, some of these people might be work colleagues or family members that you will have to see regularly. If you can’t cut people out completely, look at ways that you can work on your relationship to make it a more positive one for both of you. If you do decide to cut somebody out completely, ensure that you have thought it through properly and you are doing it for the right reasons.
If you do decide to cut somebody out of your life, you may lose contact with other friends, but if you are removing a strong negative influence then it may be worth the sacrifice. Be respectful of the person you are cutting out, after all, you were friends once so don’t bad mouth them to others.
Spend Your Time Well
The way that you spend your time can have a huge affect on the health of your mind. If you occupy yourself with things that aren’t interesting or rewarding, you can end up feeling as though you are wasting your time.
If you are not happy at work, start looking for something else. We often make the mistake of thinking that everybody gets fed up with their job and it’s just normal. But if you are spending most of your days in a place that doesn’t fulfil you, your mental health can really suffer. Making a positive change will completely revamp your outlook on life.
Finding a hobby is another good way of spending your time well. You might not get much free time and if you spend it all sat in front of the television, you could find yourself getting stuck in a bit of a rut. During the summer months, look for an outside hobby, as being out in the fresh air will improve your mental state.
There is no better way to improve and maintain your mental health than surrounding yourself with people you care about. Having the support of family and friends, and being open with them, will help you to deal with any negativity in your life.
These are just some of the ways that you can keep your mind healthy. The important thing is to make sure that you are looking after your mental health just as much as your physical health, because the negative effects of an unhealthy mind can be far more damaging than an unhealthy body.