October: Functional Mental Health
Welcome, October! We are excited to have you along with cooler weather, flannels, and everything pumpkin. With so many seasonal changes it is important to remain healthy. It is easy to get lost in all the fun festivities and forget about taking care of yourself. Let’s take a look at some ways you can prioritize your mental health and wellness on a daily basis.
Functional mental health is a holistic approach that targets the root cause. While traditional talk therapy is extremely effective, there are also practical changes you can make to better your mental health. With a combination of talk therapy and functional mental health awareness you can be closer to living well and feeling whole.
Below are the top 3 ways you can prioritize your mental health. Under each category are some techniques and practices you can begin to implement in your day to day routines.
1) Nervous system regulation
- Circadian rhythm: Waking up with the sun helps regulate your body’s internal clock which is your circadian rhythm. This can help you feel more awake during the day due to natural melatonin production. Similarly, it can enhance your mood by your body’s release of serotonin. Also, the natural light helps your body produce Vitamin D which improves your immune and bone health.
- Mindfulness: Mindfulness is the practice of being fully aware and present of your internal being and external surroundings.
- Grounding: Grounding is similar to mindfulness. However, grounding is for when you are experiencing overwhelming or difficult emotions. Grounding techniques help you get back to a feeling of safety. An example of a grounding technique that can prevent anxiety symptoms/panic attacks is the 54321 method. Focus on 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.
- Deep breathing: By focusing on doing deep breathing, it can slow your heart rate and stabilize your blood pressure. This can help reduce anxiety symptoms and stress.
- Reframing: Everyone has negative thoughts, but there are ways to replace these negative thoughts with helpful thoughts. What you think, dictates how you feel. So if you have a thought like, “I don’t have any friends because no one likes me.” you can replace it with, “I have a few good friends and I know I can make more.” The more you do this, the less negative thoughts you will have.
- Movement: Moving your body releases endorphins which improves your mood and helps you de-stress. This could look like walking, running, hiking, riding a bike, lifting weights, yoga, pilates, swimming, playing sports, and much more! Find what you love and try to incorporate this into your daily routine.
- Reduce alcohol consumption: Reducing your alcohol consumption can improve your sleep quality, your energy, spending habits, memory, immunity, and overall physical/mental health.
- Journaling: Journaling is a great tool to address and organize your thoughts and feelings. When you write it down it helps you externally process your thoughts and feelings. Also, it can help you track your goals and progress.
- Limit screen time: Social media has made it extremely easy to scroll for hours without realizing it. Excessive screen time is linked to poor mental health. Setting screen limits on certain apps can be a helpful tool to remind you of how much time you are spending each day on them.
- Supplements: There are natural supplements that can improve your mental health. Such as, Magnesium, B Vitamins, Vitamin D, Iron, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Probiotics, Selenium, and Zinc. Read here for benefits of each supplement:
- Eating clean: Incorporate more fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, cold-pressed cooking oils, organic dairy and eggs, and unprocessed meat into your diet. These changes can improve your gut health, mood, and immune system.
- Water Intake: Drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily. For example, if you weigh 170, drink 85 ounces of water daily. Your body needs water to function properly, if you make this adjustment you could see drastic changes.
Don’t let all this overwhelm you, embrace it! Be excited about all the simple things you can begin to do, or not to do that will make you a better you! Take on the challenge to face the unknown, the results could be life changing.
The Made Well Team