Your mental state not only controls your consciousness, but also determines how your body functions.
Stress, depression and anxiety can have a negative effect on your mental health.
Studies have shown that serious mental illnesses can lower life expectancy by 10-15 years. Here are some mental wellness activities and tips that can help.
1. Get at least 7 hours of sleep a day
You will be more alert and less prone to stress after a good night’s rest. Getting enough sleep can also improve your memory.
2. Healthy diet
Food rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna and mackerel cut the risk of dementia and mental decline.
Begin your day with a nutritious breakfast, preferably whole grain cereals and fruits, and take balanced meals throughout the day. Reduce simple carbohydrates such as sugar.
3. Keep yourself active
Exercise at least 15-20 minutes a day for a total of 150 minutes a week.
Exercise not only keeps you strong, it also reduces stress. It is better to do moderate exercises regularly than to have an intense workout occasionally .Exercise can improve body image, resilience, quality of life and can even assist in cases of mild depression.
4. Interacting with others
Humans are social creatures, Talking to people stimulates the brain. A study in the US found that talking with another person for just 10 minutes a day improves memory scores.
5. Pick up a new skill or hobby
Acquiring a new skill or hobby like playing a musical instrument or learning to cook can help keep your brain active and healthy. Engaging in games can also improve decision-making and strategizing, which keeps the brain active and prevents dementia.
6. Learn to organise your life and manage stress
Make a list of goals and check them off. This can help you tackle things one at a time to prevent stress due to accumulated tasks.
Focusing on the positive of things can help reduce stress - stress can never be avoided but It can be managed.
7. Laughter is the best medicine
Laughing can help to keep the doctor away because humour activates the brain’s reward and pleasure centres, generating emotions and relaxing the mind.
8. Take time to practice gratitude
Take some time off to reflect about the things in life that you are grateful for. Something as simple as having a cup of tea or meditating can go a long way in feeling happier and promoting mental clarity.
9. Avoid comparison and reduce social media exposure
Most times, people only share the best snippets of their lives on social media. Avoid comparison as it lowers your self esteem and self-worth. Take comfort in the fact that no two person is the same.
10. Talk about your feelings with loved ones
It helps to speak to loved ones about the challenges faced as this not only brings people closer together, perhaps that might be good advice that can be used to tackle the problems at hand.
11. Avoid the booze
Avoid alcohol, cigarette or drugs. They only provide temporary relief from stress and unhappiness which will be damaging for your health in the long run.
By : Dr Chen Yiming
Family Physician, MBBS (Singapore), GDFM (NUS), GDFP Dermatology (NUS)
This content is adapted, with permission, from Book 1 of 2 : The Wonders of Nutrition by Dr Ang Poon Liat. MBBS, M.MED (PAED), MRCP (UK PAED), FAMS, MD.