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Contributing factors to good mental health

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Contributing factors to good mental health

According to the Mental Health America website, so much of what we do physically impacts us mentally. Paying attention to both your physical health and your mental health can help you achieve overall wellness and set you on a path to recovery. A healthy lifestyle can help to prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions, as well as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems. Eating healthy foods, managing stress, exercising, and getting enough sleep can go a long way in making you both physically and mentally healthy.

The quality of food you eat can impact your overall physical and mental health. Eating nutritious foods can go a long way toward achieving a healthy lifestyle. Unhealthy diets lead to major health problems like diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer. Because of this poor diet is the main cause of early death in developed countries. Nearly 20 percent of all deaths worldwide can be linked to unhealthy eating habits. At the same time, mental illnesses are the biggest cause of disability and illness in the world. Depression alone is one of the top five leading causes of disability across the planet. Better diet, Better Mental Health.

Getting the appropriate amount of exercise benefits nearly all aspects of a person’s health. Staying active can benefit so many aspects of your health and can even prevent physical and mental health symptoms from worsening. It’s important to incorporate exercise daily to ensure your body and your mind are healthy. Not only does exercise help control weight, it also improves mental health and chances of living longer and healthier. Just 1 hour of exercise a week is related to lower levels of mood, anxiety and substance use disorders. Among people in the U.S. those who make regular physical activity a part of their routines is less likely to have depression, panic disorder, and phobias (extreme fears).

Recent research is connecting your gut health with your mental health. That gut-wrenching feeling in the pit of your stomach is all too real-your gut is sensitive to emotions like anger, anxiety, sadness, and joy-and your brain can react to signals from your stomach. So, when it comes to diet and nutrition, it’s all about finding the right balance of nutrients to benefit both the mind and body. The gut includes every organ involved in digesting food and processing it into waste. The lining of your gut is often called “the second brain”. There is a strong relationship between having mental health problems and having gastrointestinal symptoms like heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, bloating, pain, constipation and/or diarrhea. Having anxiety and depression can cause changes in the gut microbiome because of what happens in the body when it has a stress response.

Sleep plays a role in all aspects of our life and overall health. Getting a good night’s sleep is important to having enough physical and mental energy to take on daily responsibilities. Your physical and emotional health depends so much on how rested you are. Sleep is fundamental to a healthy mind and body. It plays a role in our moods, ability to learn and make memories, the health of our organs, how well our immune system works, and other bodily functions like appetite, metabolism, and hormone release. Poor quality of sleep can increase the risk of developing mental health symptoms like: manic episodes, a first episode of psychosis, paranoia, anxiety and depression.

No one likes to be stressed out-especially when we know it can be linked to poor health. Learning how to manage your stress can be a small change with a big positive impact on your physical and mental health. Stress has a huge impact on our lives and can make even day-to-day life difficult. Research shows that stress is closely linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. It also shows that people who feel depressed or chronically stressed may have a greater risk of physical illness. Chronic stress and inflammation have been linked to reduced ability to fight off viruses and increased risk for heart disease, headaches, intestinal problems, sexual dysfunction, diabetes and even cancer.

How to get help

Eastpointe offers a 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year call center with qualified staff who can provide counseling and a Screening-Triage-Referral process to access emergency services, mobile crisis team dispatch, walk-in clinics, routine appointments and linkage to other community resources. This number is 1-800-913-6109.

This article and others are brought to you monthly by the partners with Sampson County Healthy Carolinians. This group meets on a regular basis in Clinton. This organization is committed to address major health and social issues within the county. Their on-going efforts are to provide prevention, education and awareness of the available resources that can assist families with their overall health and wellness. For more information about Sampson County Partners for Healthy Carolinians, call 910-592-1131 ext., 4240 or visit www.scpfhc.org.

Melissa Reese contributed this article on behalf of the Sampson County Healthy Carolinians.

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