Your mental health is the most important aspect of your life. You can use diet, sleep, and meditation to boost your mental health and make yourself feel better every single day.
Beyond basic notions of happiness and sadness, mental health is an umbrella term. One’s disposition to be energetic or tired is a part of it. One’s sense of calm, or feelings of anxiety, are a part of it. Feeling loved or lonely is a part. There are a ton of different feelings that add up to the total idea of mental health.
There is a lot that a person can do to feel good. Each of the ideas discussed below offers a different angle on how to improve the condition of your brain.
Polyphenols and Brain Activity
The brain is a part of the physical body. Just like the heart, lungs, or kidneys, it is a physical organ that experiences physical conditions.
Foods that are rich in polyphenols help to boost four aspects of the physical functioning of the brain: Cell differentiation, signaling, proliferation, and apoptosis. Eating foods with polyphenols is a great way to improve mental functioning.
Dark fruits and berries are some of the best choices for polyphenol-rich foods. Blackberries and plums are just two examples. When it comes to veggies, olives and spinach are great ways to get more of it.
Some veggies contain an anti-nutrient: lectins. Lectins have some opposite impacts compared to what polyphenols do. They can cause inflammation and digestive issues. Polyphenols and lectins are sometimes grouped together because they both come from plants, but the similarities don’t go much further than that.
Reducing Stress Through Meditation
Meditation is popular for a reason. Sitting still and focusing on one’s breath can be a life-changer, with many popular apps boasting the perfect formula for inner peace.
In a study from Harvard, people who began meditating an average of 27 minutes per day for eight weeks were seen to have increased grey matter in their brains. Grey matter is good stuff. This means that the people in the study had physically healthier brains after adding meditation to their daily routines.
Encouragement for meditation comes from all directions. Science supports it. The arts support it too, with numerous Beatles songs outlining the benefits of mindfulness. Many popular religions include meditative practices, either directly or via prayer.
There are more resources for studying meditation now than ever before. Anybody can learn to meditate with a little guidance.
The Wonderful Benefits of Sleep
Sleep is the cornerstone of mental health. That’s why one prominent sleep researcher, Dr. Matthew Walker, recommends a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night.
There is common sense to using sleep as a balm for mental health. Anybody can think about what it feels like to wake up after a lousy night of sleep. It’s a terrible feeling. On the other hand, waking up from a great night of sleep is refreshing.
The compounding effect of sleep quality, night after night, inevitably becomes one of the biggest factors in any person’s mental health.
Better Health Through Good Habits
Good habits lead to good health. When a person sets out to improve their mental health, this is the thing to focus on.
Since happiness is a tricky and sometimes elusive state, it can be a mistake to seek it directly. Good habits, in contrast, are specific. Brushing one’s teeth every day will always result in better hygiene. Saving an extra 10% of one’s money will result in greater savings.
In the case of mental health, the habits are not hard to figure out. Eat healthy foods with nutrients that are good for the brain. Get ample sleep. Learn to meditate. With these three useful habits, any person is likely to experience an improvement in their mental health. The part that matters is getting started.