Our brain occupies only 2% of body weight but consumes 20% of the body’s energy. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health. The good news is that they are closely related, so exercise, sleep, and nutrition have a positive effect on both the body and the psyche.
The first habit: get enough sleep
Our brain is not able to continuously perceive information: it needs time to process and assimilate it. Recent studies have shown that during sleep, the brain is cleared of metabolic products that have accumulated during the day. This is necessary in order for us to feel cheerful and attentive during the day.
Accept the fact that you have 16 hours of work a day, and don’t try to add a couple of hours to pick up from sleep. Being lethargic, and feeling foggy in the head, increases the risk of developing diabetes, dementia, obesity, and heart disease caused by chronic insomnia – questionable optimization.
Here are some tips that will make your stay at night pleasant and high quality:
- sleep 7-9 hours a day at the same time;
- do not try to get some sleep on the weekends: scientists have proven that trying to compensate for sleep deprivation only harms health;
- if you work from morning to evening sitting, in the evening you must go for a run or a walk;
- reduce the amount of screen time before bed, for entertainment or intellectual activity it is better to choose a book;
- replace coffee or alcohol at bedtime with herbal tea.
The second habit: a balanced diet
Our brain occupies only 2% of body weight but consumes 20% of the body’s energy. To function, it needs a lot of resources that we get along with food. Food has a direct effect on our brain and therefore on our mood.
Scientists have relatively recently begun to study the effects of nutrition on mental health and here are some recommendations:
- the diet should meet the body’s needs for vitamins, minerals, and calories;
eat whole grains, fish with omega-3 fatty acids (herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines), nuts, pumpkin and flax seeds, blueberries, currants, broccoli, and tomatoes;
- reduce the consumption of processed foods: those that have been canned, cooked, and prepared for long-term storage before consumption, these are semi-finished products, canned food, sausages, snacks, and pastries;
- give up sugar – glucose is needed for brain functions such as thinking, memory, and learning, but the foods we eat every day contain much more sugar than we need. Its excess leads to a gradual deterioration of memory and cognitive functions.
The third habit: is to be physically active
As mentioned above, exercise improves sleep, but the benefits of physical activity for mental health are not limited to this. It has been proven that people who exercise regularly have less stress. Thanks to sports, memory, and concentration are sharpened, body weight is normalized and self-esteem is improved.
And not only thanks to sports! Working in the garden, cleaning the house, or walk to home from work is no worse.
The fourth habit: to be friends
If you have a few friends with whom you meet and communicate regularly, you are already doing your mental health a huge favor. If not, it’s time to build that kind of relationship.
It’s not about adding a thousand strangers to your friends on social media. Build relationships in which mutual trust and support prevail, where you are accepted in good and bad circumstances. Such relationships give a feeling of happiness, meaning, and confidence – and these are the protective towers of your mental health.
The fifth habit: choose meaningful things
Everyone understands the concept of “substantive matters” in their own way. For some it is a job, for others – a hobby, for others – volunteering. The list goes on and on, but all of these activities have one thing in common: they are fun, inspiring, and meaningful.
Remember when you were happy to wake up in the morning – energetic, waiting for something special? It could be a trip to new places, a concert by your favorite artist, or a trip with friends to the movies.
Or remember the state when the activity absorbed you, you were like in a stream, you felt neither fatigue nor the passage of time. For example, reading a book, drawing, or playing football. This is your meaningful business.
Find time in your life for yourself and such things, especially when you feel that due to stress, routine, or negative thoughts, the world around you begins to fade.
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