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Lifestyle Changes to Help your Mental Health

Dr. Saliha Afridi, PsyD - Clinical psychologist & Managing Director of The LightHouse Arabia

We know that human beings have survived and been resilient for thousands of years because of the way we lived, moved and ate. Our bodies are coded for activity and work best when we move with nature, when we rise and set with the sun. Many of our physical and mental illnesses are a result of us forgetting to do the basics that our body requires a delicate balance of eating, moving, sleeping and resting.

Sleep - Poor quality sleep and insufficient quantity of sleep has been linked to serious mental and physical health concerns. Without 7-8 hours of sleep our body is not able to do the most important functions in order to restore, recover, and recuperate. Every part of our brain and body is impacted by lack of sleep and poor sleep.

Exercise - There are many benefits of exercise and movement on our mental health and our brain health. Exercise improves mood and reduces stress by increasing serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine and it also helps promote new brain cells and new neural connections form. It helps protect the brain from mental decline as well improve attention and learning.

Eating right - We are what we eat! Research has shown that changes in the gut microbiome and inflammation in the gut can affect the brain and cause symptoms that look like Parkinson's disease, autism, anxiety and depression.

Breathing – 70% of our toxins are released by just breathing properly. Most people have shallow breathing, which can confuse the body and mind into being more distressed. Breathing properly elevates mood, improves blood quality, eases tension, and relieves emotional distress.

Seek support - If your difficulties in life are feeling overwhelming, seek consultation. It is the strangest thing that we will get coaches for sports, consultants for our business, seek medical advice for certain parts of our health, but refuse to see a mental health professional for consultation on our life, emotions, and mental health. The stigma is so dated and makes no logical sense, but people hold on to it and would rather suffer then to go see someone to help them make meaning of their suffering.


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