In celebration of World Health Day, Senior Psychologist Reece Danaher shares some useful tips on how you can help your mind and body work together to support your mental and physical well-being.
1. Nutrition - I often talk to my clients about the “telephone line” that connects our gut to our brain. It is a fact that a diet that is complete with fruits, vegetables, omega-3 fats, nuts, legumes, proteins and dairy is associated with a reduced risk of depression. Diets that involve a lot of snacks full of carbohydrates can increase the risk of depression.
2. Water - Yes that’s right, water intake also has a direct impact on mental health and in the Townsville heat and humidity is of great importance! Water is needed to make neurotransmitters in our brain and even mild dehydration can impact mood and mental performance.
3. Daily living - I talk a lot to my clients about values and breaking down what brings them joy and learning to be present in the moment that these opportunities arise. I love this process and learning about what makes each person unique and teaching the skills to access the fundamental aspects of who they are. Write down 10 things that you want to do this year and WHY – enjoy the process of self-discovery!
4. Exercise – It is a well known fact now that exercise boosts mood and can have long term positive implications for both physical and mental health yet as a nation it is an overlooked aspect of life. Motivation and Time are two of the more common factors that I often support people through when they want to achieve the goal of increasing their movement. For motivation I often talk about the chicken and the egg story – what comes first? Does the feeling of motivation necessarily have to precede the doing of the exercise? Working through your daily time-line can be a fun and sometimes a confronting process for people – exploring how much time you dedicate to tasks that do not point you towards your goals and values, eliminating distractions, plan-plan-plan and revisit the plan regularly to keep yourself accountable and on track!
5. Mental well-being – Everyone’s journey of mental well-being is different and I can not stress this enough, it is a journey. It is not a case of reaching a goal of being mentally healthy but rather a journey that fluctuates over time and a process that allows us to understand what we need in our lives that will allow us to thrive rather than just survive life. Understanding what ingredients you do and do not need in your life is a process that can be enjoyable and one that you do not need to do alone. Recruit the help of family, friends and a professional if you need to help you through this process.
One a final note on World Health Day - take the time to prioritise yourself and your mental and physical well-being. Ask yourself the question of "are my actions moving me towards or away from what I value in life" and never be deterred from asking the support of those important to you in your life.