While society generally does not support this concept, there is absolutely no doubt that our mental health is massively impacted by our overall health. Improving your health will improve your mental state, whether we’re talking about depression, anxiety or even something as debilitating as schizophrenia. The problem with this is twofold.
First, it means that the patient with mental health issues is responsible, in a large part, for their own mental health. Most people do not want to deal with this level of personal responsibility. It’s much easier to think the problem is genetic or with their boss or their spouse or their kids or with a chemical imbalance in their brain, whatever THAT actually means.
The second problem then stems from the first. When it is all you can do to get out of bed and function, how can you make it to the gym to exercise or play racquetball or to grill a healthy meal of organic chicken and broccoli. While these things may dig you out of the trench of depression, it is oftentimes easier just to stay there.
Maintaining good health from the start, and feeding our children healthy from the womb has a good chance of aborting the mental health issues in the first place. Prevention is always the best and easiest route.
But what if you’re already stuck in the trenches of depression or manic from anxiety? What simple steps can you take now that require virtually no effort but can begin to impact your mental status?
This particular study finds that drinking coffee can lower the risk of depression up to 20% for those drinking more coffee. Decaffeinated coffee had not effect, which is consistent with other benefits of coffee such as lowering the risk of diabetes.
Other changes to make to improve your mental status include:
- Omega 3 fatty acids added to antidepressants
- Folic acid supplementation
- Omega 3 fatty acid benefits beyond medications
- St John’s wort for mild to moderate depression
None of these alone are powerful enough to knock out depression or anxiety as a single intervention. But they may be enough to get someone to a level of function that can allow the addition of more powerful approaches such as exercise and stress management tools like meditation.
Don’t wait. Get started with the changes NOW.