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How Changing Your Mindset Can Help With Your Mental Health

How Changing Your Mindset Can Help With Your Mental Health

If you are currently dealing with mental health issues, whether you have diagnosed anxiety or depression, anxious thoughts, or a lot of emotional stress in your life, working on your mindset can do wonders. This is not a quick fix or meant to replace professional help, but it does help a lot with managing your mental state on a daily basis.


How and Why Mindset Matters When it Comes to Mental Health

What is your mindset? Simply put, it is the pattern and way you think about everything in life, and the world at large. It can be as simple as what your thought process is on a fun night out with friends, and as deep as how you process severe loss and trauma. Everyone has a different pattern of thoughts and emotions tied into their mindset.

It is also possible to change your mindset which can ultimately improve your mental health. When it comes to mental health, you are going to work on your fixed vs growth mindset, which allows you to change how you think about progress and what can be improved in your own life.


You Have the Power Over Your Mindset

Yes, you can absolutely change your own mindset! But don’t let this be confused with taking blame for your mental health or mental illnesses. It doesn’t mean you are the reason you have stress or anxiety or depression, but that you can control how you handle it. It is also not going to be a cure or get rid of your anxiety completely.

With mental health, there is a middle ground between understanding it and accepting that you have this mental illness, and looking for ways to deal with it in order to treat it and manage it. This is a big part of nurturing your mental health.


Understanding Fixed Vs. Growth Mindsets

While there are many ways to change your mindset in order to improve your mental health, the fixed vs growth mindset is a great place to start. Many people develop a fixed mindset without realizing it. This means most of your beliefs can’t be changed – or not yet. You have certain beliefs and think that what you know and understand and experience is just what you were born with.

With a growth mindset, it is nearly the opposite. You understand that with the right therapy, education, and open-mindedness, anyone can change. That even with your mental health, you can look at things differently. That you aren’t stuck in this cycle. 

You Know You're Ready For A Change, But You're Feeling Stuck

Why Do You Need a Mental Health Routine?

Why Do You Need a Mental Health Routine?

A daily mental health routine is one where you are able to focus on yourself, practice some self-care, and reduce stress while also working on that work-life balance. It might sound like a lot and it is, but if you stick to a routine, it will turn into daily healthy habits you don’t even have to think twice about.

Here are some of the top reasons you should consider creating a mental health routine.


It Helps Keep Your Anxiety Low

If you have an anxiety disorder, your routine is not going to cure it, but it can definitely help with those feelings of anxiety that pop up from your own bad habits. The routine you have each day can either help or hurt you, but often it does both. You might think that jumping on social media first thing in the morning is helping you get it out of the way before work, but this is probably increasing your anxiety and stress.

With a mental health routine, you can create a healthier morning routine that gives your mind a break and lets you wake up slowly without all that social media noise.


Manage Your Daily Stress

In addition to helping with anxiety, having a mental health routine can also reduce your stress. Just think of how much stress you add to your day simply by not getting everything done, not being aware of what you need to do, or having a poor work-life balance. This is even more important if you work from home, but any profession needs some structure.

With your daily routine, it is not just about your morning routine, but the different habits you have throughout the day. From choosing to eat lunch outside instead of in your office to fitting in some exercise, you can add these little habits that are good for your mental health and reduce stress at the same time.


Build Strong, Healthy Habits

With a mental health routine you commit to every day, it includes healthy habits that aren’t just good for your mind, but your body as well. It is not uncommon to add healthy habits that are amazing for your overall wellness. For example, many people have started adding yoga or morning stretching to their wakeup routine. This reduces stress and anxiety, helps you get a healthy start to the day without too much intensity, and also helps improve your physical health as well.


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Warning Signs That You Are Headed for Burnout

Warning Signs That You Are Headed for Burnout

People often say they have “burnout” just to describe any feeling of being stressed, overwhelmed, r overworked. But the term is often used too generally, whereas real burnout is an actual state of complete emotional and mental exhaustion.

If you don’t get help for your burnout, it can lead to a lot of negative consequences in your personal and professional life, and make it much harder to get out of. Here are some warning signs that you might be facing burnout.


It is Getting Harder to Complete Simple Tasks

When you complete the same task several times, you know approximately how long it takes you to complete and how difficult it is. But when you suddenly take 2-3 times longer to finish that same task or you can’t seem to focus long enough to ever get it done, that is definitely a warning sign that something is wrong.

Don’t ignore these moments when it is hard to do even the simplest of things, that you used to breeze right through. It can be a sign that something else is going on.


You Have Severe Mood or Behavioral Changes

There are many reasons to have mood shifts or behavioral changes, like stress and anxiety, but burnout can also be added to this list. You should never ignore changes with your mood, attitude, or behaviors. Maybe you are falling back into unhealthy habits and it is becoming a crutch for dealing with your negative motions, or you are getting irritable and angry at your loved ones at the drop of a hat. Sometimes, when you face burnout, the stress can overpower your logical thinking and it becomes harder to keep your cool.


Increase in Mental Health Problems

When you have burnout or overwhelm, you might notice that your other mental health disorders are also getting worse, like anxiety. Never ignore mental illnesses that seem to be getting worse, whether you are getting them treated or not.


Lack of Energy or Severe Fatigue

Have you noticed that it takes all your energy just to take a shower or get in your car to run simple errands? Among other things, this could also be a warning sign of burnout. If you have ruled out physical reasons for the fatigue or energy loss, it is time to consider your mental health and see if you might leading toward burnout.


No Interest in Social Activities

You might also find that you don’t have much interest in anything you used to enjoy. This can apply to relaxing at night and watching TV, reading, spending time with friends, or creative projects.

Keep in mind this can also be a warning sign for depression, and many people experience both depression and burnout at the same time. 

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Bad Mental Health Habits to Avoid

Bad Mental Health Habits to Avoid

While there are some amazing daily habits and rituals that can help improve your mental health, there are also some that might be more damaging than you realize. Many of these are subtle, but can make a difference in the long run.


Lack of Exercise and Proper Diet

Let’s get this one out of the way, since it’s both really important to keep in mind, and probably the one you don’t want to accept. Yes, your daily exercise and eating habits can make a difference in how you feel emotionally and mentally. We are in no way saying you need to have a rigid workout routine or stick to a restrictive diet. But you do want to take good care of your body.

Healthy, nutrient-dense foods help you feel better and give you more energy. Plus, some eating habits can actually make anxiety worse, including having a lot of caffeine or sugar. Exercise is a wonderful way to reduce your anxiety, help with stress, and clear your mind.


Perfectionism and Taking Yourself Too Seriously

Many people joke about how they are perfectionists and everything needs to be perfect and done exactly how they want. But when the laughing stops, you might find that it is actually severely impacting your life, and not in a good way.

Now is the time to stop expecting perfection and feeling like a failure just because you didn’t do everything on your list or you didn’t do it exactly 100 percent perfect. No human being is perfect, so this is completely unreasonable. We don’t live in a black or white world – we live in a gray world. Find what is in the middle. A comfortable place where you know you work hard and have responsibilities, but you also let yourself have some fun and are open-minded about the results.


Hiding From Your Anxiety or Depression with Stimulants

It is not uncommon to “deal” with mental health issues by avoiding them entirely. Far too many people do this and don’t even realize the ramifications. But if you are relying on stimulants to deal with your emotions or mental state, like smoking, drinking heavily, or relying on caffeine for energy, you are actually hurting yourself in the long run. With alcohol, it is a depressant, so it might be fun while drinking, but once you sober up, your depression and anxiety is much worse.


Overuse of Social Media

While using social media definitely has its merits, it can also be a bad habit that is actually hurting your mental health. If you are someone that just checks in every once in a while or when you get notifications, it’s probably not a bad habit for you. But people who check it constantly and whose notifications stress them out, it is definitely something to start reducing in your daily life.


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Carrying the Burden of Your Past Into Your Future

Carrying the Burden of Your Past Into Your Future

When you focus on the past, this is known as having emotional baggage. Everyone has stuff come up about their past, but it’s when you focus on it and let it fester that it can cause problems in your present life.

It can also hold you back from enjoying your future life. Emotional baggage can stem from events that happened to you - such as from being in an abusive relationship, from physical or emotional traumas such as a car wreck, or from carrying a burden you shouldn’t be carrying – like guilt.

When you hold onto the burdens of your past, it affects how you live your life now as well as how you’ll live in the future. It can become your identity because you get stuck in a certain pattern that was created by a past event.

 Whatever it is that you experienced then colors how you behave with others, how you handle your day-to-day life, how you process thoughts and what your beliefs are today.

People carry the burden of the past because they’ve never healed the emotional blow that stemmed from the situation.

The hurt they felt back then is still there just under the surface. It might be something that’s steeped in anger or anxiety. Or it could be that you’re stuck in feelings of grief or sadness.

When you carrying a burden like this, it can make you feel like you never left that time in your life. Your emotions will feel as raw now when you think about it as they did back then.

Not only can it weigh on your emotions today when you focus on the past, but it can also hurt you physically. You can develop things like insomnia, chronic stress, stomachaches, elevated blood pressure and more.

In order to leave the past where it belongs, you have to heal. That means you must unload that baggage so you can move on. You should keep in mind that you can’t heal from what you don’t name.

So when it comes to the past, you have to look at it and uncover the pain that’s keeping you tethered to that event, person or whatever it is. Write out the things that bother you now about the past and why they bother you.

It can be helpful to take this list and speak out loud or write a letter that you eventually destroy to the past situation or to the person who wounded you. As you read out the words, picture them releasing into the air, taking the connected emotion with it until it dissipates.

Accept whatever you went through without assigning blame to yourself or someone else. This is a step toward letting it go. It doesn’t mean that someone else isn’t to blame. It doesn’t mean that it didn’t bother you emotionally.

It means that you’re recognizing that the past has had enough of your life already and you’re through with that. Once you identify what happened and what kind of emotional reaction it caused you, you find peace by loving yourself through it.

Be compassionate toward yourself. Forgive the pain of the past. Forgive your mistakes. Unpack the burden of your past by practicing self-help techniques if needed to help heal from past triggers.

Self-Awareness Is Key to Mental Well Being

Self-Awareness Is Key to Mental Well Being

There may be emotional issues that cause strife in your mental well-being. Most of this is related to events that are unresolved from your past. You may struggle with this because actively solving things might not be how you operate in life, so you end up just pushing aside any issues, thinking you’ll deal with it later.

Confronting things that bother you may not be comfortable and you may be afraid it will feel even more painful to look at something under a microscope when you could push it out of your mind instead.

You may fear that if you examine it closely, you might begin to cry and won’t be able to stop – you’ll fall apart. If you find that you’re uneasy confronting whatever is going on internally, then you should know that the problem will never be solved if you don’t push past that uneasiness.

Avoiding something just keeps it swept under the rug, but it’ll always be there and can fester and bubble up to the surface at any time. When you become self-aware, you gain the insight to figure out what your emotions are doing and how they’re impacting your life.

For example, you’ll recognize that you’re angry and you’ll know why you’re feeling that anger. But in addition to that, you’ll be able to see clearly how the emotions that you have can hold you back.

Self-awareness gives you the means to uncover the emotions that are responsible for determining several things, such as how you make decisions, how you don’t make a decision because you don’t want to deal with something, and also how that emotion might inadvertently be the symptom of a bigger issue.

Sometimes people seem to possess a certain personality trait, such as being considered an angry person. But they aren’t truly angry. Deep down, the root of that emotion could be because they’re grieving over the loss of something.

It’s just covered in anger and manifesting in that type of emotion. Once you confront the emotions that you’re experiencing, you can get to the truth. It could be that you practice avoidance in a relationship.

You don’t want to face the emotions that are going on, even though they’re causing you pain. Because you know if you do that, then action is going to be required and you don’t want to have to make a choice to leave or stay - so you put up with the emotional turmoil instead.

When you have unresolved emotions that impact your life, it can affect your mental well being. It can leave you agitated internally, even if you don’t always show that outwardly. This inner emotional turmoil can cause stress to build up and affect you physically.

The root of your emotions is never something easy to face. By becoming self-aware, you will reach the stage where you can know the truth about whatever is going on so you can fix your life and heal.

8 minute meditation review

8 Minute Meditation

Choosing to take care of your mental health can mean turning to helpful resources, such as meditation. But like other people, you might have a lifestyle that’s busy and you don’t see how you can add one more thing to your schedule.

Yet the very hectic manner of your life is the biggest reason you need to take care of your mental health. You might think that meditation is something that’s just too difficult and that you’ll never be able to figure it out.

Maybe you’ve even thought about medication in the past, but decided against it because you thought it would be too complicated. That’s why the book 8 Minute Meditation is so helpful.

You can start a meditation practice that you can do in just 8 minutes so time won’t be an issue. It’s made for people who want to quiet their mind, find peace and improve mental health.

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Plus, the guidelines given by the book are simple enough for a beginner to be able to do. The book covers exactly what meditation is and how it’s not a one and done thing but rather something that you can take and use throughout your life.

It also shows how meditation can improve your mental health and your life as a whole. But it also covers what meditation may not be able to help you with. You’ll gain a fundamental understanding of the myths surrounding this tool.

These myths are debunked in the book. You’ll also understand what some of the common issues are that might hinder your ability to participate. The author shares that meditation isn’t something that you set a goal for and accomplish.

It’s something that’s ongoing and can last for a lifetime. The book begins by giving readers instructions that teach you how to set up a meditation habit. It starts out with an eight week program and shares with readers whatever breathing practices they need to follow.

The author shows readers what they need to do as far as breathing techniques. Plus, you’ll learn what you need to do in order to handle your thoughts as you meditate. The book answers questions you might have on beginning a meditation habit targeted toward mental health and well being.

One of the reasons that the book is so easy to digest and makes meditation simple to put into practice is due to the way the author breaks down the instructions into actionable steps.

In fact, once you read through the instructions, you can get started meditating in just 10 minutes. You’ll be able to calm your mind and emotions and learn a healthy way to de-stress as well. If you’re someone who’s looking for a way to practice mental health care, then the strategies in this book are a great idea to implement.

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Superfoods For Mental Health

 

Mental health is just as important as physical health, though many people choose to ignore it. However, if you have a lot of stress from your job or you suffer from panic attacks, then you need to think of better ways to manage these mental health conditions.

This report is going to go over superfoods to add to your diet that help with your mental health. It talks about three common mental health conditions specifically, including anxiety, depression, and stress. However, many of these superfoods help with other mental health illnesses as well.

Anxiety

The first category of mental illness that superfoods can be ideal for is anxiety. Many doctors will recommend changing your diet if you suffer from anxiety, whether it is general worry or an actual anxiety disorder. With anxiety, you typically have a general feeling of worry and unease, often not brought on by anything.

There are different anxiety disorders you may suffer from, like generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD, panic disorder, or a phobia like agoraphobia. Regardless of what it is, your diet could be helping or hurting you. Here are some superfoods that have been known to help with anxiety.

Dark Chocolate

It is not unusual that dark chocolate would be recommended as a superfood for anxiety. It is considered a superfood because it is filled with lots of essential nutrients, primarily with the antioxidants it has. Dark chocolate helps with anxiety thanks to the nutrients that help to reduce cortisol in the body. This is a stress hormone that leads to stress and anxiety symptoms, so a little dark chocolate is great for you.

However, before you grab any dark chocolate off the shelf, make sure it doesn’t have added milk or sugar. It should be fairly traded and organic, without a lot of additives. The sugar can actually make your anxiety worse, so you want to avoid it as much as possible. Dark chocolate with cacao of 60% or higher is usually recommended.

Asparagus

One of the best vegetables to have when you suffer from anxiety is asparagus. This green vegetable has a mild taste so that it tastes good with a lot of different meats and veggies. It is rich in folic acid and B vitamins, making it a superfood that is good for general health. The folic acid, also called folate, is what is going to help with anxiety. Folic acid has been linked to lower levels of anxiety and reducing panic attacks in people who suffer from panic disorder.

Seaweed

Seaweed is a really important superfood, so try to add it to your diet if you can. Seaweed contains a good amount of magnesium, which can help reduce your anxiety and stress symptoms. Seaweed has many other nutrients as well, similar to those found in whole grains. It is low in fat and helps with general wellness, including mental illness. It is also a really good option if you are sensitive to gluten.

Acai Berries

If you struggle with anxiety, you should definitely give acai berries a try. These are one of the most popular superfoods for everyone, from those trying to lose weight to people who have stress, anxiety, or depression. Acai berries are often found in packets which have the acai berries to add to smoothies, juice, and other recipes.

A really good option is to make yourself a smoothie bowl that includes acai berries, fruits, a cream base like yogurt or milk, and veggies if you want. These are fun, delicious smoothies that are a little thicker and tend to include more superfood ingredients.

Almonds

The last superfoods to try if you have anxiety is almonds. While many nuts have a lot of nutrients and fit in the superfood category, almonds specifically are good for anxiety and panic attacks. This is due to the zinc in almonds, which is good for balancing your moods. Many people have anxiety as a result of heightened stress, so when you can manage your stress with more zinc in your diet, it might reduce your triggers and help with your anxiety.

Almonds are also a good source of iron and various other healthy fats, which everyone should have more of. The iron in almonds further help with lack of energy and brain fatigue, both of which can also trigger your anxiety or panic attacks.

Depression

The next mental health illness we want to discuss is depression. This is also a mental health condition where doctors and therapists often recommend changing your diet because of the large impact it can have on you.

Approximately 16 million people in the United States alone have depression, but that doesn’t even include the estimated 350 million people worldwide suffering from it, according to the World Health Organization. This is a massive amount of people struggling with the feelings of hopelessness, sorrow, and sadness on a regular basis, often with no triggers or warning signs.

There are a lot of people out there with depression, but changing your diet can be the first start to helping manage it. First of all, you want to avoid certain things that can make your depression worse, including high amounts of sugar, alcohol, and caffeine. Next, try to add more of the following superfoods to your diet.

Maca Powder

The first superfood you can try for your depression is maca powder, which comes from the maca root. This is a root that grows mostly in Peru, but you can get the powdered or dried forms of it internationally. Maca powder is very nutritious, and often on many superfoods lists because of how many different vitamins and minerals it contains.

Maca is a type of adaptogen, so it is going to help reduce your stress levels. Since stress is often linked to both depression and anxiety, this makes it an excellent superfood to start with. It will also help with energy and stamina, both of which decline greatly during depressive episodes. Other nutrients that maca powder has are potassium, magnesium, calcium, many B vitamins, vitamins C and E, and iron. It also has some selenium and zinc in it for good measure.

Oranges

Citrus fruits in general are often at the top of superfoods lists, including lemons, oranges, and grapefruits. With oranges, you are also getting a fruit that has health benefits for people with depression and other mental health conditions.

Oranges have a high amount of vitamin C and antioxidants, which provide natural anti-depressant qualities when you eat enough of them. There are also complex sugars (the good kind of sugar), in addition to folate and various other vitamins and minerals. The vitamin C is the important nutrient in oranges, because it can help boost your serotonin and dopamine levels, which help people who suffer from depression.

Coconut

Just about every form of coconut can be beneficial if you have depression. This includes everything from drinking coconut milk or water, to cooking with coconut oil or even coconut butter. Coconut is a type of fruit that grows in tropical areas. People use all different parts of the coconut to make oil, water, or milk, since they all contain a lot of nutrients.

Coconuts have plenty of potassium, lots of electrolytes, and plenty of protein and fiber. Many people with depression struggle with side effects that are more physical, affecting their skin and nervous system. The nutrients in coconut meat can be very helpful for these individuals. Overall, it is great for general wellness and mental health disorders like depression.

Lentils

If you are looking for a superfood to help with depression that also has a lot of fiber and protein, lentils are a good option for you. Lentils are a superfood thanks to the large amount of nutrients combined, including iron, folate, fiber, manganese, and protein. The phosphorous and manganese helps to give your mood a natural boost and give you more energy, both of which are affected by depression.

You can also get higher levels of serotonin and dopamine in your system form many of the nutrients found in lentils. Lentils are easy to add to your meals, whether you are making soup or chili, or using them as a side dish.

Spirulina

The last superfood on the list for depression is spirulina. This is one of the more unique and lesser known superfoods on the list. Spirulina is a type of blue green algae. It is made up almost completely of protein, nearly three times more that poultry or fish. Spirulina also has no cholesterol, but lots of nutrients like omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, beta carotene, iron, and antioxidants.

When you have depression, you are often lacking in both strength and energy. It zaps nearly everything you have, making it hard just to get out of bed. Foods like spirulina are perfect when this is one of your biggest side effects of depression.

Stress

It’s hard talking about mental health without also discussing stress. This is one of the most common mental health issues people face, affecting people of all different ages and occupations. Emotional and mental stress doesn’t just affect you mentally, but physically as well. You might have low energy, mood swings, lack of motivation, and many other negative side effects just because of your stress.

There are a lot of ways to start reducing your stress, but looking at your diet is a common one. There are certain superfoods that are good for stress relief, just like when you are eating for depression or anxiety. Here are some superfoods to add to your diet when you struggle with a lot of stress:

Beets

First up are the beets, which might not be your favorite vegetable. However, give them a chance because they are good for you, an excellent superfood with tons of nutrients, and can be very flavorful when made the right way. These bright pinkish-purple vegetables can be added to salads, cooked on the side of your main protein source, or added to a casserole of your choosing.

Beets contain a lot of folate, over 30 percent of your daily minimum is just one cup of the bright vegetable. Lack of folate can be linked to stress, including confusion, insomnia, and overall mental fatigue. So what you may need is more beets in your life. These also contain a lot of other excellent vitamins and minerals that help with stress, diabetes, cholesterol, and arthritis.

Mushrooms

Another vegetable on the list of superfoods for mental health, particularly stress, is mushrooms. These are super low in fat and carbs, so they work great with a lot of different diets. Mushrooms have a high amount of selenium, known to help with fatigue, stress, and anxiety. They also have vitamin D, which is actually rare for plant sources to have it naturally. With enough vitamin D, you will be able to get help for mood disturbances, depression, and seasonal affective disorder, all of which can be related to your stress levels.

It is super easy to add mushrooms to your diet. Top your salads, replace burger patties with Portobello mushrooms, add them to an omelet with ham and cheese, or make yourself some soup, chili, or pasta sauce with mushrooms.

Milk

Diary is also considered a superfood, especially if you are dealing with stress. Most of the nutrients found in milk can help with your stress levels, including vitamin D, A, and calcium. Milk also has good antioxidants and protein, which are also important for making you feel more relaxed. These nutrients will reduce free radicals as they are often linked to feeling stressed out.

You might want to try skim or reduced fat milk, but full-fat dairy products are also fine. Have some oatmeal or cereal with your milk, have a glass with your meals, or make fruit smoothies with milk and superfood fruits and vegetables.

Turkey

Lean protein can also be a good superfood when you have a lot of stress in your life. Turkey breast is linked to happiness and relaxation thanks to the amino acid tryptophan. This is the same amino acid linking eating turkey at Thanksgiving to wanting to take a nap afterward. This is because turkey can help to relax your mind and body, which is a good thing when you have a lot of stress.

If you are a vegetarian or vegan and don’t eat turkey, not to worry! There are plenty of meatless options that also contain tryptophan, including lentils, beans, oats, tofu, nuts, and seeds. If you are a pescatarian, you can also enjoy eggs and fish for the amino acid that will relax you.

Green Tea

The last superfood on the last for stress and mental health is green tea. Green tea is extremely good for you, which is why it is often recommended for other health benefits as well. Green tea helps to boost your mood, relax you, and make you healthier in general. Try to drink more green tea and you will start feeling much better.

The dramatic role of nutrition in mental health

Must watch: I highly recommend you watch this for your family’s sake!

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. In this critically important talk, clinical psychologist Julia Rucklidge explores a range of scientific research, including her own, showing the significant role played by nutrition in mental health or illness.