We frequently talk about ways to live a healthier and happier life. However, most of the information that we discuss is about physical health. In order to be truly healthy, it’s also important to focus on positive mental health. May 2nd to 8th is “Mental Health Week” in Canada. During this week, all Canadians are encouraged to talk, learn, engage and reflect with others on issues relating to mental health. There are a number of reasons why a focus on mental health is so important. Your mental health impacts just about every aspect of your life. If you are not feeling well mentally, your work, personal relationships, family life and physical health will suffer. Therefore, it’s extremely important to focus on mental health and to take steps to ensure that you are doing what you can to care for both your physical and emotional well-being. Exercise can help with mental health, especially when it comes to anxiety and depression. Not only does exercise help you feel physically stronger, but it also improves your mood and gives you a stronger sense of well-being. Nearly all physical activity has benefits for both your body and your mind, however, here are a few specific activities that can help improve your mental health:
- YOGA: Yoga is often considered a “complimentary” treatment for depression. Those who take yoga classes regularly report significant reductions in stress, anxiety, anger and depression. Not only does yoga help improve your range of motion and core strength, but it also helps you focus on your breathing, which is calming and helps your mind slow down and focus.
- HIKING: Hiking, especially in the wild, has a calming effect on the mind. It helps reduce anxiety and stress and provides your brain with a mental “break” that is good for your mental health and well-being.
- RUNNING: Running has been shown to improve mood in many ways. It has a positive affect on neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine, which improve mood and create feelings of happiness and energy. Running may also make it easier for you to sleep at night, which has many positive benefits ranging from lower stress levels to improved memory.
Unfortunately, for many people, there is a stigma around getting help for mental health issues. They are worried about admitting that something is wrong, afraid of appearing “weak” or concerned about what other people may think of them. However, getting help is part of the recovery and it takes courage that should be celebrated. Getting professional help for a mental health issue is just as important as getting help for a physical issue. Each person’s path to positive mental health is different. Talk to a doctor or counsellor if you are having mental health issues that are affecting your life. For example, if you experience dramatic changes in sleeping or eating habits, if you feel unable to cope with daily life, if you experience delusions, hallucinations or suicidal thoughts or if you turn to substance abuse to deal with your problems, you should speak with a professional.
If you’ve been struggling with pain or a recent injury and would like to see a Physiotherapist, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Remember, at Physiomed…Healthier Starts Here.