With Mental Health Day having just passed, it is a perfect time to look at the relationship between exercise and mental health and explore a few other ideas for ways to help boost mental health.
Recent statistics shared by mental health charity Mind revealed that 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. Whilst many cases are best referred to medical professionals for help, there are also some other ways to help improve mental health, and we take a look at them below.
As outlined by NHS doctor, Alan Cohen, regular exercise can boost your mood and is particularly effective for those with mild to moderate depression. He recommends that adults take part in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week to get the benefits.
Choose an activity you enjoy
To stay motivated to keep doing regular exercise, it is important to choose an activity that you are interested in and that you actually enjoy doing, or you may find yourself making excuses not to do it.
That’s for exercise activities, but having hobbies that you enjoy doing generally will also give you something to look forward to. If you like going to bingo, for example, make time to do it. If you don’t have time or feel in the mood to visit a bingo hall in person, you could always play bingo online with Paddy Power to give yourself an hour or so of fun when you feel like it. You might even meet some like-minded people in chatrooms to talk with about your shared love for bingo.
Make time to socialise
Socialising is proven to reduce the symptoms of depression, as revealed in this study by University College Dublin. As socialising can feel like the last thing you want to do when you are feeling low, it is important to push yourself to try and keep up regular social time. Whether it is joining an exercise class like Zumba, or simply inviting a friend round for a coffee, having a chat and staying in touch with people is so valuable for your mental health.
Have a healthy diet
Your diet has a very big effect on your mental health, for a number of reasons. A study published in Psychosomatic Medicine showed that depression could potentially be treated with an overall improvement in diet quality.
Planning out healthier, balanced meals that include vegetables and fruit can help to improve your mood and give you more energy. It is also important to stay hydrated and try to limit caffeine and alcohol intake, as these can have negative effects on your mental health.
If you are feeling low then these actions could help to improve your mood. However, it is still important to get medical advice from your GP if you feel you are suffering. Your doctor can provide a few different options to try and help you to start feeling mentally healthier and sometimes it can help just to have a chat about how you are feeling.