Whilst we bang on about the importance of at least your five-a-day for your physical health, what if there was in fact a five-a-day (at least) for your mental health?
Turns out, there are small things we can do each day to help us tackle those stresses around us.
We’ve had a funny old year – never has connecting with others been just that. We’ve had delayed responses on a zoom screen and virtual hugs. As humans we generally like to be around others (even introverts, in moderation) which is why strong social networks are linked to improved social resiliency.
Connect with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours on a daily basis; even if it’s just for 5-10 minutes.
Additional brownie points if this is in nature. Here in the UK, from the 10th-16th May, the Mental Health Foundation are hosting Mental Health Awareness week. The theme this year is nature, for good reason. Spending time in nature has been seen to reduce stress, anxiety and depression scores.
Those who exercise in nature have lower activity in their prefrontal cortex, which is the brain region active during rumination. This is the process that leads to continuous negative thoughts – but being in nature reduces that.
Exercise reduces body levels of stress hormones, and also stimulates the production of endorphins which are the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.
Be aware of the world around you. This is a form of mindfulness; being present in the moment you are in. Negative feelings usually include worry about the past or future – being in the moment can help focus your mind.
Mindfulness is regularly associated with reduced scores in stress, anxiety and depression.
We live in a world that never stops. But we sometimes need to. It’s easy to always be occupied with technology, but our brains become reliant on that input. We sometimes need to simply stop and smell the roses. For some, there is anxiety around not always being “busy,” but there is a difference between being busy and being productive. Asking yourself some questions around this subject may give you insight.
Fuel your Body
Stress is nutrient depleting; so we need to ensure we are fuelling our body and mind properly! Opt for well-rounded meals containing protein, fats and carbohydrates. Wholefoods are abundant in those vitamins and minerals. Regular meals will help balance blood sugar levels as well.
Stress also results in oxidative stress, no surprises there,so opt for those antioxidant foods too.
Our Fivaday is clinical proven to offer an antioxidant boost equivalent to five portions of fruit and veg today, so head on over to the shop to grab your bottle.
Join us in getting as many fruits and vegetables in our diets as possible, but also in getting at least five-a-day for our mental health too!
PS – if you are struggling with your mental health, please seek the advice of a qualified practitioner. Mind Charity offer some brilliant resources!