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5 practices that can improve your mental health

On a planet where about 1 billion people live with some mental healtha suicide happens every 40 seconds. That’s what it says World Health Organization (WHO), in a survey released in 2019. And despite the mental disorders require diligent medical treatment and follow-up, some simple self-care strategies can benefit your mental well-being and ward off negative feelings.

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THE This isRenato Silva, physician specialized in bipolarity and depression Graduated from the Federal University of Uberlândia (UFU) with a residency in psychiatry from the University of São Paulo (USP), he elucidates the concept of mental health: “It is a state of well-being that allows the individual to cope with the stresses of life, develop their skills, their potential, learn and work well and be able to contribute to the community. Mental health is not just the absence of a mental disorder, it is a much broader concept of well-being.”

In other words, even those who do not have a diagnosis of disorders may suffer from poor mental health. Therefore, it can be valuable to check out expert tips and learn how to take better care of your mental health beyond Yellow September.

5 practices that can improve your mental health

1 — Contact with nature

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according to one study published in the journal “Science Advances”, contact with nature can increase happiness and well-being, provide greater ability to manage everyday tasks, improve cognitive function, imagination, creativity and even bring “a sense of meaning and purpose in life”.

Experience is also associated with improved sleep and the reduction of stresswhich, consequently, reduces the risks of diseases such as depression and anxiety.

Renato also recalls that the lack of exposure to nature can have negative impacts on his physical health. That’s because it is important to maintain air quality, for example.

For those who live in large cities, the doctor points out that the benefits of contact with nature for mental health also extend to lawns, gardens and parks. “If you live indoors, you can incorporate nature into everyday life by trying to visit parks and squares or even environments with gardens and tree-lined streets,” he suggests.

2 — Food

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According to nutritionist Marianne Fazzi, the human brain “needs to receive the right foods to stay active and functional”. She explains that some mental health problems are related to the low production of certain hormones, which may be directly linked to the food.

Consequently, an unhealthy diet can harm mental health. As an example, Marianne cites the dysbiosis intestinal – condition caused by excess foods ultra-processed foods and a lack of fiber and water — which has a major impact on disorders such as anxiety and depression.

According to her, the ideal foods to consume in the search for strengthened mental health are those that contain nutrients such as Omega 3vitamins D and B, probiotics and prebiotics.

With fragile mental health, it is possible that the desire to eat unhealthy food increases. This happens because of reward system of the brain: “If the person does not have pleasure anywhere, he directs them to food, which has an immediate pleasure effect”, explains the nutritionist.

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To break the cycle, following the guidelines provided during follow-up by mental health and food professionals is essential.

3 — Physical exercises

woman doing physical exercises, mental health
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You physical exercises bring numerous benefits to physical and mental health. Renato explains that one of the reasons why the practice can strengthen mental well-being is because it has the ability to regulate neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.

“Studies show that a brisk walk, for about 30 minutes or more, three times a week, can already significantly improve symptoms of depression and anxiety”, guarantees the doctor, indicating that exercise does not need to be intense to bring benefits.

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4 — Meditation

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according to one study Published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, meditation can have a lasting positive effect on the part of the brain that processes emotions.

For the specialist in meditation and instructor at Meditação São Paulo, Bruna Wolfmann, the symptoms of some diseases can be alleviated through practice. That’s because it can eliminate negative thoughts, improving energy circulation in the body and reducing harm caused by mental disorders.

And the advantages of the activity are attested by practitioners such as the lawyer Maria Vitória do Nascimento Barbosa, who reports: “I was always very anxious and insecure, and I also had bouts of depression during my life. When I started to practice meditation, with the simple method I was taught, I was able to understand what my main triggers were for anxiety, insecurity and depression, and I can meditate in those moments.”

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5 — Psychological follow-up

woman in consultation with psychologist, mental health
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When it comes to strengthening mental health, the most obvious can be the most effective: therapy with a psychologist.

The orientation of psychologist clinical and neuropsychologist Roberta Faria is for the patient to look for approaches to psychology so that she understands how each professional works and how it will help her in her development. As the most common approaches, she cites: Psychoanalysis, Humanism, Phenomenology, Body Psychology, Behaviorism and Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy.

It is also important to emphasize that treatment with a psychologist should not be limited to people diagnosed with mental disorders. “[A terapia] It can act not only in the prevention of a possible psychopathology, but also in helping with other demands, such as self-knowledge, better stress management, emotional regulation, changing behaviors that can bring harm, among other possibilities”, points out Renato.

When it comes to self-knowledge, Roberta adds, reporting that psychology can teach patients to identify triggers for negative emotions such as anger, fury and stress, as well as “develop new ways of thinking and acting in the face of what arouses fragility, fear and insecurity” ”. Psychological follow-up can also awaken optimism and good self-esteem.

In the case of patients diagnosed with mental disorders, practice is extremely important for the success of psychiatric treatment. “The psychologist is able to follow the patient closely, notice improvements, relapses, adopt a lifestyle that helps and contribute to adherence to treatment”, concludes Renato.

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