Mental Well-being Tips
Did you know the gut is also known as the “second brain?” More and more research is connecting gastro-intestinal symptoms like heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, and bloating with mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. If you routinely have these symptoms, your gut might be telling you something.
Here are some things you can do to promote gut health for mental health:
- Select foods whole fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, legumes, and fish and use olive or avocado oil. These foods help lower your risk of developing depression by up to
- Limiting fried, processed, and sugary foods and drinks that can change the gut flora or other words decrease the good kind of bugs present in the gut.
- Include foods called prebiotics that help increase the good types of bugs in the gut.
Foods like raw or lightly steamed asparagus, garlic, and onions as well as tomatoes, apples, and berries are all good prebiotic choices.
- Include foods that have live bacteria that help the gut. These foods are called probiotics and some easy to consume foods with probiotics include yogurt containing live or active cultures, miso soup, tempeh, and apple cider vinegar
- Apple cider vinegar is an easy way to get your probiotics. Simply add a couple tablespoons of it to 16 ounces of water with some lemon or lime juice. It is a great way to get more water and your probiotics for gut health each day. This is my go-to first thing each morning.
Another way to support your mental health is to get active and be active – as little as an hour of exercise a week can help elevate your mood and decrease anxiety levels because of the impact on levels of endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, glutamate and brain derived neurotrophic factor. Walking for 10 minutes several times a day can help those minutes add up all week.
Taking steps to manage your stress will also positively affect your mental health. If you need help with stress management skills, get with a Rolling Strong Coach for help.
Build a toolbox of skills and techniques that you can quickly turn to when you start to feel anxious or distressed. Some things for your toolbox might be:
- Breathing exercises to help you relax and reduce shallow chest breathing in favor of
deep diaphragm breathing.
- Practicing gratitude by reflecting on things you are thankful for to help you change your mindset.
- Using your senses to help you change your focus – squeeze a stress ball in your hand or even tightly grip and release the steering wheel a few times; click a pen or listen to calming music or sounds; look at a photo of something positive such as an inspirational quote or a picture of a loved one or a favorite vacation spot; suck on sugar free lemon sour candy or drink mint tea; smell essential oils or scents that are calming such as lavender.
- Repeat affirmations or positive mantras to yourself to help you shift your focus.
- Process your emotions and feelings so you can understand the emotions you are feeling and why you are feeling them by identifying and naming the trigger.
If nothing is helping you feel better and you need support, don’t hesitate to reach out for help –
• By Texting MHA to 741741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor
• By Calling 1-800-273-8255 to reach a trained crisis worker for support.
by Coach Tanya
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