How do I maintain my mental health?

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With Bell Let’s Talk Day recently behind us, there is still so much on the subject to talk about. If you’ve been experiencing seasonal blues; chronic depression; or consistently battling any mental health issues, here are 5 things you can do every day to help bring the sunshine back into your life to stay!

1. Increase your tryptophan intake.

Tryptophan is an amino acid that travels to your brain to be converted into your ‘feel-good’ hormones like serotonin (your happy hormone) and melatonin (improves sleep quality). You can get this through means of certain foods, and by taking a supplement.

Foods high in tryptophan include: Nuts and seeds, soy foods (soy beans and tofu), oats, certain meat/poultry, lentils and eggs. Try to eat them with a carbohydrate and non-saturated/non-trans fats as this will increase the amount of tryptophan that reaches your brain, thus increasing your serotonin/melatonin levels.

2. Get at least 20 minutes of fresh air a day.

A study done by the Journal of Environmental Psychology in 2010 found that being in nature is a strong contributor to one’s sense of vitality, happiness and energy. (davidsuzuki.org)

“Our internal biology rewards us when we do something important for our survival. That reward is a feeling of well-being, rejuvenation or pleasure, and it is mediated by our brain’s neurochemicals. Anyone who has ever felt better by going outside in nature has experienced this reward. It is biology’s way of telling us to do it again—being in nature is important for our survival.” -Dr. Shimi Kang (davidsuzuki.org)

3. Exercise (in conjunction with #2)

We all know that exercise is good for us. But it can be hard to get motivated, especially when feeling blue or even clinically depressed. However, researchers are finding more and more about the connection between getting our sweat on and our overall mental health. Here’s one unexpected factor that just might help get us off the couch:

Exercising (especially between the ages of 25 and 45) can be a deterrent of mental degeneration later in life.

“As aging and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s kill off brain cells, the noggin actually shrinks, losing many important brain functions in the process. While exercise and a healthy diet can’t ‘cure’ Alzheimer’s, they can help shore up the brain against cognitive decline that begins after age 45” -Sophia Breene (huffpost.com)

4. Sing!

It doesn’t matter how good you are! Sing in the car, the shower, or loud and proud for all to hear – singing has often been linked  to raising moods, through the release of endorphins. So crank that radio and let it all out!

5. Inhale “Happy” Essential Oils

Who doesn’t love the scent of some sweet Lavender to calm and uplift? Other oils that are known to be grounding and mood raisers are peppermint, frankincense, and wild orange. Inhale; put a drop on a necklace pendent, or rub on the bottom of your feet! You can purchase essential oils locally in Moncton at Sequoia Organics at any of their three locations. Breathe in, and enjoy!

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I sincerely hope these tips are helpful! Please do no hesitate to reach out for more info or support! Don’t forget to sign up here for the monthly ACL newsletter if you haven’t already! Here’s to a cheerful month ahead!

 

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