lets talk about mental health
Let’s talk about mental health

Let’s talk about mental health

In this article, we will look at the way that mental health can also affect our physical health, why it can be difficult to talk about our mental health and who we can talk to, as well as some solutions we can all take forward today.

There is a growing number of people experiencing a decline in their mental health. One in four adults experiences at least one diagnosable mental health problem every year. One in 6 adults report experiencing a common mental health problem (like anxiety and depression) every week in England. People in all walks of life can be affected and at any point. These issues have, in many cases, been worsened by the Pandemic we have all been facing.

Whilst society is becoming better equipped to respond to mental health needs, people still find it hard to talk and ask for help.

How does our mental health, affect our physical health?

Poor nutrition choices

Appetite and nutrition can play an important and largely underrated role in Mental health. Some people cope by overeating or bingeing, which can lead to weight gain and obesity-related illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes. Sweets and foods high in sugar, fat and carbohydrates may provide immediate relief, but the effects are often momentary.

Reduced motivation to exercise

Those experiencing Depression can lack motivation because they are low in dopamine, the neurotransmitter that makes you feel excited and enthusiastic. Your brain chemistry is literally telling you not to get up and move, making the decision to exercise a hard obstacle to overcome.

Poor gut health

Gut bacteria are key players in your mood and mental health. They can relieve the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress, but they might also make them worse. Our colon is home to trillions of bacterial cells which make up our gut microbiome. Our microbiome allows nutrients to enter the body and keeps opportunistic pathogens out, and their activities also influence your brain. When the body is exposed to stress, it goes through a series of changes so that all major resources are focused towards the muscles and brain. If our gut microbiome is imbalanced (dysbiosis), then our overall mood can be affected, as the activity of your gut bacteria affects stress and anxiety.

Lack of sleep

Most people who have experienced mental illness know that it is often accompanied by sleeping problems such as difficulty falling asleep and / or staying asleep during the night. Poor sleep may be contributing factor in the onset of Depression in some people.

Poor cardiovascular health

Mental illness and stress are closely related. Stress hormones increase heart rate and make blood vessels tighten, putting your body in a prolonged state of emergency. Over time, this can lead to heart disease.

Who can I talk to?

Anxiety, Depression and other mental health issues, aren’t always obvious. In fact, some people go to great lengths to hide the symptoms of depression from the people around them, often seeming content, joyful, and productive. But in private, mental health symptoms are affecting their thoughts, feelings, and physical health.

As a society we have been conditioned to think that talking about our feelings is a sign of weakness and we are often afraid to reach out when we need to. And due to it’s taboo nature, those suffering will often be shunned or distanced by other people, even friends and family, because they simply do not have the tools to help the person, and manage their own response to the problem.

In the past, like many of us, I have also struggled with mental health issues, feeling anxious and overwhelmed. So, what changed? How did I overcome the feelings that were holding me back? I simply reached out to someone who knew how to help.

Alan Whitton is an exceptional life coach, with over 13 years’ experience in the field. Alan without a doubt, helped me turn my life around through his solution focused and outcome driven coaching sessions. I believe in Alan and his coaching approach, so much so, that I have invited him to work alongside me at Wern Fitness, to assist my personal and corporate clients to achieve the health and fitness goals they may never thought were possible.

How might Life Coaching help you?

There are many uses for life coaching; when it comes to improving your self-esteem, getting your life in order and changing your outlook. Depression and other mental health issues can lead people to have a tendency towards negative feelings and emotions, which can make it difficult to find motivation.

Meeting regularly with a coach can offer a regular dose of optimism and energy. Our well-being can fluctuate, often in response to changes that are occurring in our lives.

Coaching can provide you with the techniques to deal with the ups and downs and to live the life you want to, free from the restrictions of mental health problems. Every coaching session allows you the opportunity to focus on the ‘new you’, removing negative and unhelpful ways of thinking. Making way for more positive and productive ways of thinking.

Techniques to improve your mental health today

As well as talking to awesome people like Alan, there are also simple steps you can take TODAY to take back control of your mental health;

  • Breathe in fresh air: Breathing fresh air can cause the release of our much-needed happy hormone, serotonin. Fresh air has increased levels of oxygen and it initiates the release of serotonin in the body which is responsible for regulating your mood.
  • Make some time to move: Getting just 10 minutes of exercise a day can boost our serotonin levels, lifting your mood and feelings of wellbeing.
  • Drink plenty of water: Try to drink 2-3 litres of water a day. Our brains are over 85% water, by staying hydrated we keep our brains and minds healthy.
  • Breathe with purpose: Breathing? But I do that all the time, you might say. The 4-7-8 breathing method helps reduce anxiety levels and improve sleep. You can follow along using this handy video.
  • Meditation: Finding a moment of stillness can help us relax and clear the stresses from our busy minds. There are some great apps for beginners which offer guided meditation to limit us from distraction.
  • Good mood foods: Foods like fatty fish, nuts, seeds, bananas and especially dark chocolate have all been found to provide us with vitamins and minerals to boost our moods.
  • Blue light under the moonlight: By limiting the amount of time we spend looking at our phone screens at night, especially in the two hours before bedtime can aid our sleep, improving our health and wellbeing. For more information on why sleep is SO important check out our article.
  • Setting goals: Create a to-do list with small daily goals to give yourself a sense of accomplishment.

Nobody should have to suffer in silence, let’s keep talking about mental health together.

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