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Cultivating a Healthy Mind: 5 Key Factors That Shape Your Mental Health



Mental health and wellness is a foundational part of our overall well-being. It's like the heart and soul of the emotional, psychological, and social parts of our lives. From the way we feel, the way we think, and act, including how we handle stress, make decisions, connect with others, and deal with challenges in our everyday lives, our mental health contributes to it all!


The mind sits at the center of mental health and wellness. It is a complex system of cognitive faculties that includes consciousness, thinking, judgment, perception, memory, and emotions. The mind is basically the seat of human consciousness where information is processed, decisions are made, it's also where thoughts and feelings are experienced.


Seeing how important mental health is, it is important we understand the factors that contribute to shaping and improving it, that way we can continue to nourish and nurture these areas to be in the best state of mental well-being at all times.

 

Quality Sleep


We've all heard the saying "sleep is the best medicine." Quality sleep contributes significantly as a foundation for mental health. It is important to know that a lack of quality sleep does more harm for one's mental (and overall) well-being as opposed to current trends that promote the hustle culture at the expense of quality sleep. Adequate sleep is necessary for both physical and mental health. Our brain needs rest to consolidate memories, process emotions, and rejuvenate for the next day. Stress levels, anxiety and mood disorders are increased when Poor sleep patterns, insomnia, or sleep disorders contribute to increased stress, anxiety, and mood disorders. Research shows that quality sleep improves cognitive function, emotional resilience, and overall mental health. Seven to eight hours of sleep each night is recommended to promote good mental health.



Exercise for a Sound Mind


Regular exercise and optimal mental well-being go hand in hand. You've probably experienced feeling so good after a workout session. There's a reason! When you engage in physical activity, endorphins which are also known as "feel-good" hormones are released. These hormones can elevate the mood and reduce stress. Depression and anxiety, some of which are mental health symptoms, have been proven to improve when one engages in consistent physical activity and exercise. Boosting one's self-esteem and body image are also part of the many benefits of exercise on one's mental well-being.

Incorporate exercise into your daily routine, aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity most days of the week. Finding what works for you and only engaging in activities you enjoy, whether it's just walking, jogging, swimming, or playing a sport could make a huge difference. If you find it difficult to allocate a solid block of time for exercise, break it down into shorter bursts throughout the day. The key is being consistent, as regular exercise has cumulative benefits for both the body and mind.





Nutrition & Supplements


The role of nutrition is all-encompassing. The meals we eat do not just play a role in nourishing our physical health but our mental health as well.

Essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals are needed for the brain to function properly.

A diet containing these essential nutrients (balanced and nutritious) can improve mood, reduce stress, boost memory and improve cognition.

On the other hand, consuming a diet high in sugar, processed foods, and unhealthy fats can contribute to inflammation, hormonal and brain chemistry imbalances, leading to mood swings, anxiety, and depression.

Prioritizing nutrient-dense diets including vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats will do so much good in ensuring optimal mental health and wellness. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, also counts as dehydration can negatively impact cognitive function.

While a healthy diet should always be your primary focus, certain supplements can help complement efforts in cultivating a healthy mind. As mentioned earlier, Omega-3 fatty acids have shown potential benefits in supporting mental health by creating a balance in the brain chemistry, helping to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. This essential nutrient (omega-3 fatty acids) can be derived from fish oil supplements. Vitamin D supplementation may be necessary for those who have limited sun exposure, as vitamin D deficiency has been linked to depression.

Other supplements such as the B vitamins, magnesium, and probiotics, have been seen to have positive effects on mental health.

B vitamins, which are naturally found in whole grains, legumes, and leafy greens, are involved in the production of neurotransmitters that helps to regulate one's mood. Magnesium, which is naturally found in foods like spinach, almonds, and avocado, is known to have a calming effect on the nervous system. Also, probiotics, naturally found in fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, may support gut health and influence brain health through the gut-brain axis.



Social Connection


As human beings, we are all social by nature. Each one of us desires to seek out connections and engage in social interactions. In this process, these connections allow us to birth and improve meaning, happiness and fulfillment in our lives, and ultimately our mental health. Research proves that people with strong social lives generally have better mental health outcomes compared to those without. Social connections are important because they decrease stress, heighten resilience and enhance general life satisfaction. It’s always good to have healthy relationships, whether with close family members, friends or colleagues – for optimal mental health. Joining a club or community group that aligns with your interests, volunteering for a cause you care about, reaching out to others when you need support, and being there for others when they need you, are all great ways to foster much needed social connections.



Meditation


In recent times, meditation and mindfulness are becoming mainstream approaches for improving mental health. Meditation can decrease stress levels, increase self-awareness; help with focus plus boost emotions of wellness.

Begin with devoting some minutes a day in meditation. Try taking deep breaths in a quiet and relaxed place while sitting comfortably paying attention to your breath or any particular word or mantra. Let thoughts arise and pass away, unjudged and non-attached. In fact, there are a host of meditation apps and websites offering guidance to beginners in this art. With time, and as you get more comfortable, you can gradually increase the duration of your meditation sessions.

 

There are several factors that contribute to the development of one's mental health. Prioritizing sleep, engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a nutritious diet, considering appropriate supplements, and practicing meditation can all contribute to improved mental well-being.

Remember that everyone's journey may differ. If you consistently follow such habits they gradually become part of your mind-set, leading to higher levels of mental wellness and broader satisfaction in life with good mental resilience.


Looking for a customized program tailored to help you get your mental health in check? At Libre Aesthetics and Wellness, the Healthy Mind Wellness Program uncovers the factors that contribute to where you are now, make a goal to change, while also being supported by a customized nutrition, diet and exercise plan over the course of twelve to sixteen weeks. Add on lab testing or genetic testing will be recommended to help customize your program and give you the best results.

Contact us today or schedule a consultation to get started today!









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