The Natural Path To Mental Wellness
October is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I wanted to share some great natural, easy, and generally free tips for you to support your mental wellness and health.
It seems to me that now we are in the post-covid era, and people have discovered their new normal, maintaining good mental health is more crucial than ever. I know I’m seeing greater rates of people struggling with depression, anxiety, loneliness and a lack of direction. While professional help and therapy are valuable resources, there are also natural solutions that can complement your mental health journey. In this blog, we’ll explore some of these natural strategies to help you support your mental wellness.
The Mind-Body Connection
Your mental and physical health are deeply interconnected. When you take care of your body, you’re also nurturing your mind. Here are some practices that can help you achieve this harmony:
Regular Exercise: Physical activity releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. Whether it’s a daily walk, yoga, or hitting the gym, find an exercise routine that suits you. PLus – getting outside gives you Vitamin D, which is important for mood stabilisation and improving depression.
Mindful Movement: Practices like tai chi and qigong promote relaxation and reduce stress. They also enhance body awareness, which can be grounding for your mind. These practices improve the flow of qi, or energy or life force, in your body
Balanced Nutrition: A well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins provides the nutrients your brain needs to function optimally. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and flaxseeds, have been linked to improved mood and cognition. Check out my blog on nutritional psychiatry for 5 key nutrients for mental health and mental wellness.
Adequate Sleep: Sleep is when your brain rejuvenates and processes emotions. Ensure you get 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Need some tips on sleep hygiene for good quality sleep? Check them out here
The Power of Mindfulness
Mindfulness practices can help you stay present and reduce the impact of stressors on your mental health. Try these techniques:
Meditation: Regular meditation can improve focus, reduce anxiety, and enhance emotional well-being. Start with just a few minutes a day and gradually increase the duration. Tried it and don’t like it or it doesn’t work? That was me too, until I found one that is scientifically shown to work for 80% of people the first time they try it. Try it for free here on my YouTube Channel
Deep Breathing: When you feel overwhelmed, take a few deep, mindful breaths. This simple practice can calm your nervous system. It works! It gets oxygen back into your blood, which helps your brain, and here’s a top tip – breathe out for longer than you breathe in. This tells your brain that everything is OK.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation: This technique involves tensing and then relaxing muscle groups, promoting relaxation and reducing physical tension. I’ve recorded a video on this as well on my YouTube Channel
The Healing Power of Nature
Spending time in nature can have a profound impact on your mental health. It’s often referred to as ecotherapy, grounding, earthing or forest bathing. Here’s why it works:
Reduced Stress: Nature helps lower cortisol levels, the stress hormone. Take a hike in the woods, stroll along the beach, or simply sit in a park to reap the benefits. Plus….good old vitamin D, fresh air and no devices make your body and mind happy!
Improved Mood: Exposure to natural light and fresh air can boost your mood and increase feelings of well-being. So, make outdoor activities a regular part of your routine. See how they all connect for your mental wellness? Move more – reduce stress – improve mood!
The Role of Social Connections
Authentic human connections are vital for mental health and mental wellness. We saw this during covid lockdowns – mental health and mental wellness levels plummeted with the lack of genuine connection with people. Nurture your relationships with these strategies:
Connect with Loved Ones: Make time for friends and family, even in your busy schedule. Sharing your thoughts and feelings can provide emotional support. Genuine mental wellness means genuine connections with people – deep connections with a select few is so much more beneficial than superficial connections with many.
Volunteer: Helping others can be incredibly fulfilling. Engaging in volunteer work not only benefits your community but also boosts your own sense of purpose and well-being. There are many studies on the benefits of volunteering on your mental wellness.
Creativity and Self-Expression
Engaging in creative activities can be therapeutic and promote mental wellness:
Art and Craft: Whether it’s painting, drawing, knitting, or any other craft, creative pursuits can be a form of self-expression and a way to relax. It engages the creative, gestalt side of your brain and is a key feature in many mental health programs. I never saw the benefit until I experienced my own mental illness journey 19 years ago, and I still do art and craft to this day. Read more about my path to mental wellness here
Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and emotions can help you process them. It’s a safe space to explore your feelings and gain insight into your mental state. Why does this work? Because when you write, you process the thoughts and feelings, rather than bottling them up and swallowing them down. Give it a go! You can just grab any plain old notebook, or check out your local Kmart or Big W – they often have great guided journals.
Seeking Professional Guidance
Remember that while these natural solutions can be valuable, they are not a substitute for professional help. If you’re struggling with your mental health, consider seeking guidance from a qualified therapist or counsellor. You can also consider a kinesiologist like myself. I can work alongside your mental health team to support your journey to mental wellness.
Supporting your mental health naturally involves a holistic approach that encompasses your body, mind, soul and environment. By incorporating these practices into your daily life, you can take proactive steps towards maintaining your mental wellness. Remember that authenticity in your self-care journey is key, and you have the power to create a fulfilling and balanced life that supports your mental health simply by incorporating these tips into your life and figuring out what works for you.
Where to next?
If you’d like to explore how kinesiology can support you as a natural option on your path to mental wellness, you can book in with me here, for an in-person appointment, or online too, if I’m a little far from you. As someone who has been there, I get it. I get how hard it is, and I get how alone you feel. And I’m here to support you just like I was supported to find my way forward.
You can always check out my shop for a variety of products that support your mental wellness – essential oils and aromatherapy products that can give a little extra support when you need it