Mental health is just as important as physical health, but unfortunately, it is often overlooked. People tend to think of mental health in terms of disorders such as depression and anxiety, but it is so much more than that. Mental health encompasses our entire well-being, including our physical health, nutrition, and lifestyle choices.
At P.S. Psychiatry, we believe in holistic mental health care that accounts for every aspect of our patient’s well-being. Our psychiatrists are here to listen and collaborate with you, as well as your other care providers, such as therapists and primary care doctors.
Some of the most important links between mental health and physical health come from:
- Physical Activity
Having a team of professionals who understand your physical health, as well as your mental health, is crucial for creating a holistic treatment plan that meets your needs.
1. Nutrition and Mental Health
There is a clear link between nutrition and mental health. What we eat can have a major impact on our mood and overall well-being.
So, how and why does nutrition impact our mental health?
Our brains need the right nutrients in order to function properly. Carbohydrates supply our bodies with energy, while proteins and fats provide essential nutrients for our bodies and brains.
Additionally, certain vitamins and minerals are known to help regulate moods and prevent depression, such as vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, zinc, and iron. When we don’t get enough of these essential nutrients in our diets, we may feel sluggish, irritable, or anxious.
One way to ensure you’re covering your nutritional bases is to eat a varied and balanced diet. This means eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. You may also want to consider taking a multivitamin or supplement that contains some of these key nutrients.
If you are concerned about how your diet may be influencing your mental health, your P.S. Psychiatry provider can refer you to a registered dietitian or nutritionist.
2. Sleep and Mental Health
Sleep is another crucial aspect of our overall health that can have a profound impact on our mental well-being. In fact, sleep deprivation has been shown to cause changes in mood, cognitive function, and even gene expression.
While everyone’s needs vary slightly, most people need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night for optimal health. When we don’t get enough sleep, it can lead to irritability, poor concentration, problems with decision-making, and an increased risk for anxiety and depression. It’s important to establish good sleep habits by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, avoiding screens before bedtime, and winding down for 30 minutes before sleep.
3. Physical Activity and Mental Health
Physical activity is another important factor when it comes to holistic mental healthcare. Exercise has been shown to improve moods, decrease anxiety levels, and even help treat depression.
Exercise doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym or running a marathon. Something as simple as taking a walk can help increase serotonin levels and reduce stress hormones. (And if you’re able to walk in the sunshine, you’ll also reap the benefits of vitamin D!)
If you’re not sure how to get started with an exercise routine, your P.S. Psychiatry provider can refer you to a certified trainer or physical therapist who can assess your needs and create a tailored program for you.
4. Genetics and Mental Health
Genetics plays an important role in how our bodies, including our brains, function. For some people, certain mental health disorders can be linked to genetic mutations or variations that increase their risk of developing the disorder.
At P.S. Psychiatry, we offer genetic testing and counseling services to help you better understand how your genes may be influencing your mental health. If needed, genetic testing can also help your provider better assess which medications may work best to treat your symptoms and avoid negative side effects.
5. Self-Care and Mental Health
Self-care is an essential part of holistic mental healthcare. It’s important to make time to take breaks, relax, and do things that bring you joy. This could mean anything from going for a walk, taking a long bath, or spending some quality time with friends and family.
It’s also important to establish healthy boundaries with yourself and others. This means not taking on too much at once, asking for help when needed, and setting realistic expectations for yourself.
At P.S. Psychiatry, we take a comprehensive approach to mental health care that takes into account how all of these elements—nutrition, sleep, exercise, genetics, and self-care—impact how we think, how we feel, and how we behave. Our holistic psychiatrists strive to provide our patients with the best possible care by taking a holistic approach that examines how physical health impacts mental health.
By understanding how these factors influence mental health, you can develop healthier habits that will help you better manage symptoms of mental illness and live a more balanced life. To learn more about our holistic approach to mental health, contact our team today.