Larry O. Sanders, MD. PC
There are several things you can do to help almost any condition you have. While they are not "rocket science", failing to do them can be extremely destructive to your mental and physical health.
1. Get adequate Sleep.
Sleep literally clears your brain of toxic byproducts of the days mental activities. Sleep restores your inhibitory chemicals your brain needs to deal with the stressors of the following day. Approximately one of every three people has a sleep disturbance. It can be trouble falling asleep, waking up for long periods during the night. waking up early in the morning, but not being able to return to sleep or excessive sleepiness. Sleep disorders can be caused by many things including: current stressors, old traumas, physical illness and mental illness. Combined, sleep disturbance is the most common symptom of depression and anxiety. Sometimes treating sleep is simple, sometimes it is difficult, but regardless, it is vital to get good sleep.
2. Regular Exercise.
Everybody knows that exercise is good for them, but most of us don't know how important. Exercise is one of the best preventions of: cardiovascular disease; death form any cause; depression and anxiety. Of course, regular exercise is best, but even some exercise each week is much better than none.
3. A balanced diet.
Despite each new "superfood" that becomes the current fad to save us, there is not so. In 2015, the FDA removed dietary cholesterol as a risk factor for heart disease. What we were taught for 40 years, "eating low fat is healthy" was wrong. I think what makes most sense is the old "Four Basic Food Groups, with about equal parts proteins, fats and carbohydrates. What is know is obesity is the biggest cause of physical and mental diseases. In fact. obesity is 50% of the burden in depression. In most cases, it's not so much what you eat but how much you eat. Keeping a body mass index with in the "normal" or "overweight" categories has been shown as healthiest. But obese or extremely thin people are the ones with the highest health risks.
4. Keep your stressors low.
Stress increases inflammation. Inflammation greatly increases your risk of mental and physical illness. Meditation, prayer, "down time", overcoming cognitive distortions (that is frequently arriving at negative conclusions), "getting away", whether mentally and/or physically, is vital to health and a high quality of life.
5. Increase your social connectedness.
"It is not good for man to be alone" the Bible says. Increasing the number and quality of your relationships can have profound effects on your health. A study done in women found that increasing social connectedness substantially reduced suicidality. A study from England found that walking with a friend several days a week substantially reduced anxiety.
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