The importance of a healthy lifestyle for mental health
Before I get started, I should add that I’m not a doctor nor a medical professional—I’m barely an arts major. Everything I’m writing on below I have learned through my own trial and error—with some help from relative literature—and should not be taken as fact but rather a proposition.
My sole intention here is to help those suffering from mental health conditions realize that your solution might not reside in those little blue bottles.
As I see it, human kind has a major roadblock in regards to managing anxiety and depression while considering health. We as humans are our own distinct species yet we tend to behave in opposition to our evolutionary necessities.
Our human bodies and minds have evolved over millions of years to function a certain way. When we are constantly acting against those necessities, it should be no surprise that our mind and body begin to revolt, rebelling against the consciousness that keeps feeding it Wendy’s and cigarettes.
Our minds and bodies fail to evolve at the rapid pace of our societies technological advances. Turg the Neanderthal was never faced with the constant pressures of a social media influencer, hopelessly posting his primitive fecal cave sketches on Etsy.
He slept when his body told him to sleep, he ate what the earth provided him. Turg never binged on Lacroix.
I think it’s time we start acting a little more human and a little less like Morgan Spurlock. Here are a few of the habits I’ve found to ease anxiety and better depressive symptoms by simply treating ourselves like the species we’ve evolved to be.
Food sensitivities can be a surprising underlying cause of unexplainable anxiety. Just like a gash on your arm, your digestive organs can become inflamed as well.
Foods high in sugar and trans fats, processed meats and alcohol can all influence an irritated gut. Our bodies are not built to survive off the highly carcinogenic Western diet most of us have been ingesting since early childhood.
Try and incorporate the foods our mind and body thrive on. Drop the grilled cheese and start eating a diet of vegetables, fruits and fiber.
If you’re interested in reading more on the topic, pick up a copy of Gutby Giulia Enders for a more cohesive explanation of the importance of intestinal health from a genuine scientist.
I cannot stress how important sleep is to one’s mental health. Anyone who’s experienced brain fog—a common symptom of anxiety disorders—knows that running on any less than eight hours of sleep makes the already challenging day detrimentally harder.
Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker is the perfect read for understanding the significance of agood night’s sleep.
Get the hell off social media. No one needs to know where you are, what you’re eating or whoyou’re sleeping with—and honestly, no one cares.
The constant pressure to uphold a presence on social media is a self-inflicted gouge we continue to let fester. Didn’t your parents teach you not to pick your scabs?
Not only does social media reinforce insecurities and create a loop of unstable reassurance, it’s a blatant construct of false narratives and delusional gloating.
Isn’t reality just a hell of a lot more fun? Even during quarantine, I’d rather lacerate my genitals than scroll through my high school gym teacher’s Facebook feed.
Find affirmations elsewhere—find them within yourself. The temporary applause of others only clings to the ego for so long. The act of self-discovery and finally acknowledging your own self-worth survives endlessly, regardless of who’s kid Samantha is having.
The entire premise of social media platforms operates in direct opposition to this idea. Your answers are not at the bottom of all that scrolling. All you’ll find there is a clouded mind.
Log off, get out and discover what’s really important to you. Establish your own core values off the screen.
For a gentle yet assertive perspective on how to cope with our modern society, check out Matt Haig’s book Notes on a Nervous Planet.
Along with his other book Reasons to Stay Alive, I can confidently say Haig’s words have changed the way I go about my day.
I strongly recommend anyone struggling with any form of anxiety or depression give both these books a try. They’ve been revolutionary for me.
The foods we eat, our sleeping habits and the state of our bodies all influence our moods and the state of our mind.
Follow in the footsteps of our friend Turg—eat clean, sleep well and stay the hell away from tinder. Turg was never much of a looker and believe me, he reproduced.