If you have worked with me or listened to me speak before you have probably heard me talk about “The Foundations of Health.” These are the building blocks on which our mental, physical, and spiritual health rise and fall. They include: air, water, nutrition, exercise, rest, balanced emotions, and spirituality. In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness month I want to highlight just a few of the ways that our health foundations play a role in our Mental Health. For the sake of brevity we will focus on the foundations of air, water, nutrition, and rest!
We do not think much about air but without it we quite literally would not be able to live. Because we do think much about it we can forget that the quality of the air matters. Air that is filled with toxic chemicals, smoke, and mold particles can be extremely harmful to the human body. These types of toxic fumes do not just harm the body with physical illness they can also produce mental disorders in individuals! When a home or office has mold it is breathed in by all those who live or work in the building – hence why mold falls under air. And studies have shown that those who have been exposed to mold suffer from brain fog, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and difficulties with concentrating. To aid your mental health, have your house checked for mold and try slowly eliminating chemical pollutants from your home such as candles, certain perfumes, and home fragrance sprays. Elevate the air around you by using air purifiers and diffusers, natural cleaning products, and changing your air filters frequently.
Did you know that if you’re thirsty you’re already dehydrated! Our bodies need water to function, after all the human body is made up of 45-75% water. With this information it makes sense that problems would occur when one is not properly hydrated. While dehydration can have physical effects it also has mental effects. Dehydration can lead to an increase in irritability as well as a higher risk of anxiety and depression. On the flip side, those who have an increased water intake have an improved mood and feel less anxious throughout the day! I don’t know about you but that makes me want to drink up! To up your water intake try to drink half your body weight in ounces of water. If you need help upping your water intake try keeping your water bottle close to you and setting reminders throughout the day to help keep you hydrated! Even small things like drinking water can drastically improve your overall mental health!
Food is fuel for the body and trust me our bodies need that premium fuel. A lot of the foods we eat nowadays are processed, covered in chemicals, and stuffed with additives and dyes. Food dyes have been linked to ADHD and anxiety, diets high in sugar are linked to an increase in depression and processed foods have been linked to inflammation in the brain leading to an array of mental disorders. Nutrition is a great tool to improve your mental health (and it does not have to break the bank). The best way to care for your mind by using nutrition is to focus on eating whole foods that are packed with nutrients. Whole foods such as leafy greens are rich in B vitamins which help to improve your mood! The natural nutrients in whole foods can lead to a decreased risk of physical and mental illnesses.
We live in such a fast paced society but our bodies, minds, and spirits were not created to sustain that pace. When you do not rest your body goes on overdrive trying to keep up, this often results in living on stress and adrenaline. Living on stress and exhaustion causes adrenal fatigue which can then lead to anxiety, extreme fatigue, mania, and depression. One of the best things you can do for your mental health is slow down and rest. There are so many amazing mental health benefits to rest: increased concentration, lower levels of anxiety, more joy, improved emotional health and less stress! Take some time to unplug, recharge, and get rest. Your mental health will thank you for it.
I have only highlighted a FEW ways that our health foundations play a role in our mental health but let me assure you there are SO MANY more ways that our mental health is affected by these foundations. By enhancing your foundations you will see and feel improvements in your mental, physical, and spiritual health! Do not neglect the simple things that can make a big impact!
Your resident Holistic Health Coach,