Carol A. Gooch, M.S., LPC, LCDC, LMFT
As a mental health therapist, I have talked with many people who are not aware of the importance of good mental health. We all know the importance of good physical health, but being mentally healthy can make all the difference in life’s challenges. You will have a healthier body if you take care of your mind. It’s important for you to take care of yourself so that you can do the important things in life — whether it’s working, learning, taking care of your family, volunteering, enjoying the outdoors, or whatever is important to you.
Good mental health helps you enjoy life and cope with problems. It offers a feeling of well-being and inner strength. Just as you take care of your body by eating right and exercising, you can do things to protect your mental health. In fact, eating right and exercising can help maintain good mental health.
The food you eat can have a direct effect on your energy level, physical health, and mood. A “healthy diet” is one that has enough of each essential nutrient, contains many foods from all of the basic food groups, provides the right amount of calories to maintain a healthy weight, and does not have too much fat, sugar, salt, or alcohol.
By choosing foods that can give you steady energy, you can help your body stay healthy. This may also help your mind feel good. The same diet doesn’t work for every person. In order to find the best foods that are right for you, talk to your health care professional.
Regular physical activity is important to the physical and mental health of almost everyone, including older adults. Being physically active can help you continue to do the things you enjoy and stay independent as you age. Regular physical activity over long periods of time can produce long-term health benefits. That’s why health experts say that everyone should be active every day to maintain their health. Physical activity can help with stress issues as well.
Your mind and body will feel better if you sleep well. Your body needs time every day to rest and heal. If you often have trouble sleeping — either falling asleep, or waking during the night and being unable to get back to sleep — one or several of the following ideas might be helpful to you:
- Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning.
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.
- Eat on a regular schedule and avoid a heavy meal prior to going to bed.
- Exercise daily, but avoid strenuous or invigorating activity before going to bed.
- Take a warm bath or shower before going to bed.
- Drink a cup of herbal chamomile tea before going to bed.
- You need to see your doctor if:
- You often have difficulty sleeping and the solutions listed above are not working
- You awaken during the night gasping for breath
- Your partner says that your breathing stops when you are sleeping or you snore loudly
- You wake up feeling like you haven’t been asleep
- You fall asleep often during the dayGood mental health is a sense of wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem. It enables us to fully enjoy and appreciate other people, day-to-day life and our environment. Our goal at Aspire Hospital is to help as many people as possible experience good mental health. Call 936.200.6201 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for more information.