Improving your physical and mental well-being is not difficult when you have the correct type of advice. If you want to become a healthy person, I am confident these tips will help you.
There’s been a post recently showing images of people who are deeply depressed, yet able to smile into the camera, thus hiding their struggle. It strikes a chord among so many young, otherwise vibrant people who look fit, stay resilient to seasonal illnesses and still carry a burden that hinders their health.
Crafting your own health-maintenance and improvement plan starts with several essential choices you can make every day in order to live better and stay healthy inside and out.
Keep reading below to learn how to become a physically and mentally healthy person!
Exercise for Physical and Mental Health
All-around wellness starts with your mindset. So, if you are training for abs only, your health and confidence may suffer.
You don’t have to be a serious athlete and you don’t even have to be in great shape to feel the physical and mental health benefits of exercise, but you do have to do it.
How to Exercise to Become Healthy
If you haven’t been very active recently, start slow and work your way up. Start out by going on a walk one or two days a week. Start taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Simply put, make conscious decisions to do the little things that keep you active and that will quickly become habit. Once you’ve got that down, slowly build that up to walking three or four days a week.
Maybe start riding your bike on one of those days instead of walking, or even ride your bike to and from work a day or two a week. Eventually, work up to going on a short jog or even keep it mellow but do it more often.
It’s not so much about how hard you exercise but how often.
The age-old adage that your body is a temple still stands true, and when you’re guided by your desire to live long and live well, your exercise regime will reflect that attitude, your immune system will reap the rewards, and this behavior alone will be the cornerstone of a healthy life.
According to David Nieman, DrPH,
“people who exercise for 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week have a 46% reduction in the number of days of illness compared with those who didn’t exercise”.
That means getting your heart-rate up on a regular basis, whether it’s with a brisk walk, a jog, or a lifting session, as long as you keep it in reasonable amounts to avoid over-training or too little activity.
Just do a little bit every day or every other day, and don’t worry too much about pushing yourself too hard. You will quickly see how much better you feel, and you will notice a desire to do more naturally.
Another great way to get motivated to exercise is to join a recreational sports league or sign up for lessons. I started out with local tennis lessons and eventually joined tennis league, which I have now been in for 3 years.
The natural endorphins released by your brain during exercise have shown to reduce stress, relieve anxiety and depression, boost self-esteem and improve sleep.
Additional Reading: Low-Impact Exercises with High-Impact Benefits
Nutrition Tips to Become Healthy
You’ve probably heard the saying you are what you eat, but maybe you haven’t ever given it much thought. The truth is, we’ve become accustomed to pre-packaged foods and meals that take little to no preparation.
But these foods are often highly processed and contain massive amounts of preservatives, which do not serve us well in our quest for improving health and well-being.
No truly healthy life can go without proper munchies. And those of you who appreciate the impact of a good exercise routine understand the value of a healthy meal plan that fuels your level of physical activity and your mental well-being.
Maybe even your work requires extra care in your diet to handle the long hours, stress, or travelling to different time-zones and other excruciating conditions.
Sometimes your three square meals will be all you need to keep your body happy and healthy.
But add to that your weekly training effort and the increased exposure to viruses, and you need a nutrient boost.
Introduce quality protein supplements and other healthy diet options to your menu, along with immune-boosting vitamins and minerals, and you will give your body the ammo it needs to maintain a resilient body and protect your high spirits.
Eating healthy is a very challenging step for many people, and while the benefits may take some time to feel, they are absolutely worth the effort.
The easiest first step for me, was to replace my morning sugar-filled cereal with a good vegan gluten free granola and mixing it with unsweetened organic yogurt and fresh fruit.
After making just that one small change in my diet, I quickly became interested in seeking out other healthy foods to improve my well-being by learning about the benefits of different foods.
I like to mostly eat raw foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
In my case, sticking to a raw food diet can effectively lower inflammation, improve digestion, provide more dietary fiber, prevent cancer, treat constipation, provide my body more energy, clear up skin conditions, help maintain a healthy body weight and a whole lot more.
If you know exactly what kind of benefits you are looking for to improve your well-being, a little research can go a long way in helping you identify which foods you should be putting in your body.
The main point here is to stay away from processed foods, preservatives, processed sugars, and just about anything from a drive through, a deep fryer, or a microwave.
Diet & Mental Health – Foods & Herbs with Positive Effects on Your Mental Health
The surge in awareness and prevalence of mental illnesses is why therapy visits and new counseling options like online therapy are on the rise. Frankly, it’s a discussion we should be having- stigmas be damned!
I won’t get into the psychology behind mental illness and everything that plays a role in it (it’s a very complex issue), but rather I will focus on another factor that plays a sizable role in mental illness: your diet and nutrition.
Ever heard of the saying: you are what you eat?
Well, it turns out this statement is true on many levels. If you put junk into your system, your body and mind will likely turn to “junk.” More and more studies show that natural foods high in micronutrients impact our mental health for the better.
Processed foods (which make up a significant portion of what most people buy these days) are showing to have a negative impact on brain and overall body function.
Moreover, let’s take a look at one of the largest mental health issues in America: depression.
There are various levels on the depression spectrum, and not everyone who is depressed is experiencing severe depression. A large percentage of individuals are only moderately or mildly depressed. According to doctors, a simple dietary change can help you overcome this.
The same likely goes for anyone experiencing any mild form of mental illness.
Taking the right food and herbs will not only to improve your physical conditioning, but brain power and mental health as well.
Inexpensive changes in your regimen can uplift cognitive functions, and possibly lessen signs of stress, depression and other psychological maladies. Experts recommend the inclusion of certain foods and herbs for mental health in your everyday diet and routine.
As noted above, natural foods have shown to be very good for our state of mental health. So, it’s no surprise to see fruits, vegetables, whole grains, Vitamin B, fish, and any lean meats or vegetarian protein on the list of what you should be eating.
Whole grains are particularly important because they contain fiber, and they happen to be the least processed grains.
Here are some of the best foods for mental health:
Lean protein is one of the richest substances for the human body next to carbohydrates. Protein’s building block is an amino acid known as Tryptophan that affects mood by generating Serotonin.
As a neurotransmitter (brain chemical), it transmits information all over the body and brain. Serotonin is said to help neutralize depression. Sources of lean protein are chicken, turkey, fish, beans, and eggs.
More Information: Hemp Protein Benefits
Fatty Fish is important because of Omega-3 Fatty acids that counter saturated fats unfavorable to the brain. Omega-3 acids (for example, fish oil supplements) can be derived from cold-water fish like mackerel, salmon and herring; seaweeds; and chicken fed with walnuts and flax seed.
Fatty acids were found to deal with symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, schizophrenia, and depression. It is also capable of reinforcing memory and the learning process.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy Green Vegetables have a lot of Folic Acid and Vitamin B. Folate deficiency can lead to tiredness, insomnia, and sadness. Recommended vegetables are broccoli, romaine lettuce, spinach, mustard, and turnips.
Broccoli also contains a trace mineral known as selenium that’s good for the immune system, hormone metabolism (thyroids), and reproduction.
Whole grains, wheat, barley, soy beans, and rice are sources of complex carbohydrates which produce glucose for the brain. This serves as stable source of wholesome food for the brain.
See Also: Benefits of Kale and Spinach
What Foods to Avoid to Improve Your Physical and Mental Health
The two largest food problems in America are fast food and snacks (A.K.A. processed food). It is highly advisable to stay away from these as much as possible.
Avoid processed and junk foods. Instead, consume plenty of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and lean meat.
Also, drink a lot of water regularly.
Not only will you improve your mental health, but you will reduce your risk of developing other diseases, such as cancer. You should also look to avoid sugar (and artificial-sweeteners – yes, I’m looking at you coffee lovers).
If you are a coffee lover, consider switching to black coffee or Bulletproof Coffee instead of your artificially flavored morning “coffee drink.”
If you haven’t heard of Bulletproof Coffee before, check out my article to learn more about the benefits of Bulletproof Coffee!
Sugar affects cognitive function– think about how that is intertwined with your mental health.
It’s important to see that there is not such a long list of foods here.
You can, and should, still enjoy life when it comes to food. No one is advocating to “only eat X.” However, there are certain foods you should try and limit, such as sugar.
Your diet should be balanced, with more of a focus on natural foods. Remember, the good news is that this is in your hands. If you’re in a mild state of bad mental health, a small and simple dietary change can make a huge difference!
Learn More: Sugar Alternatives for Coffee
Try Natural Medicine
Do you suffer from anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain or some other ailment that is bringing you down?
If so, don’t be so quick to call the doctor for a prescription medication. It is always worth your time to explore natural solutions that are safe, non-addictive and have less undesirable side effects.
There are literally hundreds of natural remedies for just about any ailment. For instance, CBD (Cannabidiol) is becoming an increasingly popular natural medicine.
This extract of cannabis has a plethora of medical uses, is non-addictive and is completely legal for use when extracted from hemp.
In fact, as of 2018, CBD is no longer banned for professional athletes by the World Anti-Doping Agency, allowing this specific natural medicine to enter the $11 billion market of sports nutrition. Since the inclusion of CBD oil into the legal-to-use supplement list, CBD oil for athletes has rapidly taken off as a market!
Garlic, ginger, turmeric, ginseng, milk thistle, ginkgo biloba, and aloe vera are just a few other natural medicinal sources worth looking into.
Gingko Biloba is cited for benefits such as the capacity for improving blood movement to your eyes particularly for persons afflicted with macular degeneration. It is also helpful to the ears and prevents inner ear ailments as well as tinnitus.
Passion Flower is a traditional herbal tranquilizer that induces restful sleep and alleviates anxiety.
Saffron is not only coloring for food or flavor enhancer. It is well-known for contributing to balanced disposition, soothing and relief for stress.
Rest assured, whatever ailment you may be suffering from, there is a natural remedy out there you should research and try before heading to the doctor for a prescription. If you are interested in some of my favorite natural medicine “treatments” for becoming physically and mentally healthier, check out these articles on my website:
- Ginger Benefits for Men
- Turmeric and Apple Cider Vinegar for Weight Loss
- Benefits of Drinking Aloe Vera Juice First Thing in the Morning
Utilize Specialized Online Programs
Are you looking to improve your productivity, relieve chronic pain, or simply learn a new skill to improve your overall well-being? In our current day and age, the internet is full of exclusive online programs that fit any niche.
For those suffering from sciatica or disc herniation, this program teaches the McKenzie exercises and a plethora of other related exercises combined with expert knowledge to help you relieve your back pain from home.
On the other hand, maybe you need to work on your self-confidence.
Another common issue affecting an individual’s well-being is sleep quality. If you are looking to improve the quality of your sleep, this sleep health program could help.
Whatever it is that is affecting your well-being negatively, there are essentially unlimited resources online to help you help yourself.
Can you imagine a truly healthy life without nurturing your relationships?
Or without an occasional good book, a walk with your pooch, or a sip of hot chocolate? You may even be safeguarding your immune system quite successfully without attending to your other needs, but these are equally relevant in making your life complete.
Maybe you need to work on forgiveness, maybe you need to just work on not worrying.
In order to minimize the effects of stress, finding the right strategies can contribute to your health as much as the next flu-shot. Consider meditation, a hot bath, whatever helps you enter your Zen mode.
Handling stress will in turn lower your cortisol production, thus warding off the pesky flu and creating a mindset that supports self-care.
See Also: Natural Remedies for Stress
Meditation is an often-overlooked method for improving one’s well-being. Some people just don’t believe in it and others just don’t feel like it’s something they can do. The truth is it’s a skill, and it takes time, dedication, and practice.
But there is no doubt that meditation can improve your life.
The benefits of meditation include:
- Reduce Stress
- Improve Concentration
- Increase Self-Awareness
- Increase Happiness.
It also benefits cardiovascular and immune health by inducing relaxation, allowing blood vessels to open up and lower blood pressure.
And as I mentioned before, you better bet there’s a bunch of online courses and programs that will teach you effective meditation practices and techniques to really hone-in your skills and improve your well-being.
It’s easy enough to do your own research here, but here is one free 10 chapter online meditation course that comes highly recommended for beginners.
Read More: Meditation Techniques for Beginners
Learn How to Handle Grief and Hard-Times
Grief has been known to cause significant loss of appetite, insomnia, tightness in your chest or heart palpitations, elevated blood pressure, pain, stress, dramatic weight gain or loss, stomach trouble, weakness and fatigue.
The mental toll of grief can exacerbate existing physical conditions and may even lead to increased instances of self-medicating. Grieving can also weaken the immune system, leaving you more susceptible to colds or other contagious illnesses.
While most of the physical symptoms of grief are relatively minor and generally ease over time, there is an increased risk of more serious complications for some people.
Research has found that people suffering from intense grief may be more likely to experience premature death themselves. Some studies have shown a significant increase in violent and accidental deaths following a loss, and individuals are also more likely to attempt suicide or succeed at taking their own life while in mourning.
One study reported that at-risk individuals were about 20% more likely to suffer a fatal heart attack after the death of a spouse, and the chance of a bereaved individual having a heart attack is heightened during the 24-hours following the death of their husband or wife.
The risk gradually decreases with time; however, the danger may persist for more than a month.
In times of grief, self-care can be difficult. Often, the intense emotional impact of losing a loved one makes it hard to think of everyday things like buying groceries or spending time with friends. Yet taking care of yourself is an important part of the grieving process and may actually help alleviate some of the physical symptoms brought on by the loss.
For some, the process of self-care begins with finding a caring, knowledgeable funeral establishment that can arrange the task of burial or cremation. Later, regular exercise, dietary changes, getting plenty of rest, returning to favorite hobbies or exploring new ones, and surrounding yourself with support are also important.
Some people find it helpful to join a grief support group or may simply choose to share memories of their loved one with family and close friends.
While no one approach is right for everyone, and the timeline for returning to normal activities will be different for each person, there are plenty of ways to help begin the process of healing both the mental and the physical body.
Get More Sleep
And while you’re doing your best to eat well and train, if you don’t give your body enough rest every night, the effects of other healthy choices will be minimized.
You’ll be cranky, drowsy, negative, and less productive than usual. Pushing your body into a mode that doesn’t support self-care and makes you more prone to poor decisions and unhealthy choices.
Let your body and mind rest, heal, and restore your energy levels. Combine that with healthy foods and ample exercise, and you will be less likely to crave a ton of chocolate, a smoke, or a bottle of red wine too many.
Building will-power starts with consistent Zzz’s, and the rest will follow suit.
When Possible, Enjoy the Cold
As the crisp cold settles in your back yard, you prefer to sit indoors, thinking you’re safe and sound where you can think toasty thoughts.
Unfortunately, the warmth and lack of physical activity can be detrimental to your well-being, not just your immune system, although it takes a battering too.
Hikes in nature, spending time in the fresh air, roaming in the cold (but well-dressed) help your body produce more of your immunity cells that fend off colds and viruses. It also lets you get your daily dose of Vitamin D through sunlight, and your productivity will also benefit from the great outdoors.
Read Next: Healthy Holistic Living Tips