Under the Hood

7 Effective Ways To Improve Your Mental Health

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, the state of mental decline. The sixth leading cause of death in America, according to the Alzheimer's Association, it is a bane to those seeking to improve their overall mental health.

One example of those affected by dementia is a woman named Dorothy, who recently lost her father to Alzheimer's-related complications. Heartbroken for over ten years at the sight of her old man slowly falling into a shell of his former self and knowing that her family has a history of both dementia and Alzheimer's, she decided to take care of herself to avoid suffering her dad's fate by making her mental health her priority. To start, Dorothy followed these effective ways that you can do to improve your mental health:

Adequate Sleep 

Although the standard sleeping time at night is about 8 hours, you can also sleep for at least 7 hours for adequate and healthy sleep. Good sleep allows your brain to process information and emotions that it cannot handle during the day, helps filter out toxin buildup in the brain and also revitalize your senses. For effective sleep, it is best for you to: have a fixed sleep and waking up schedule, avoid using electronic devices 30 minutes prior to sleeping and do a relaxing bedtime routine such as drinking decaffeinated herbal tea, reading a good book or listening to music.

Proper Exercise 

Do proper exercises, preferably outside to get an added bonus of getting breathable and rejuvenating fresh air. Exercises force new oxygen and blood into your brain, reducing anxiety and stress. What is important when doing exercises is to not only find enjoyable physical activities, but also do them consistently and set aside time for them, all while minimizing risk of injuries.

Intentional Focus 

Do beneficial activities that engage you mentally such as reading, writing, learning new skills, having an intellectual chit-chat, listening to lectures and attending classes.

Meditation And Prayer 

When you pray, you look outside your present circumstances and towards a bigger picture in life. Reduce anxiety and depression by way of meditation, which can be done in two ways: either by focusing solely on the environment, looking at a tree or flower while being aware of your surroundings, or by taking deep breaths, with the latter being effective for relieving muscle tension or pain. 

Healthy Diet 

Food is basically the fuel that your body needs, and if the fuel is poor health-wise, it will negatively affect all parts of your body, including your brain. Add whole food rich in vitamins and minerals to your diet while limiting your intake of unhealthy items such as sugar, processed food and those with unnecessary additives and preservatives.

Intentional Rest 

To function better for the rest of the week, take a day off every week. Use that day to do the activities that you enjoy the most without doing any work whatsoever. 

Being Creative 

Utilize the side of your brain that allows you to be creative. Doing so not only boosts your problem-solving skills, but also relieves stress and elevates your mood while increasing your self-awareness. Examples of activities that stimulate your creative side include gardening, baking, cooking, drawing, painting, photography and coloring.

Dementia The idea that dementia is normal is a myth. Neil Moralee (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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