Though not as obvious as a cut that requires stitches or a broken bone that needs a cast, mental health issues are just as important to our overall well-being and requires recognition, proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one in five adults experience a major issue in their mental health and 10 percent of young adults go through major depression for a period.
With that said, sometimes a period of depression might be due to life circumstances like a breakup, losing a job or a change in your environment such as moving away to college for the first time. In these cases, there are some natural steps you can take to treat mental health issues and get back to a place of positivity and happiness.
In addition to being good for physical health by lowering blood pressure and reducing your risk for heart disease, studies have shown that regular exercise also improves mental health. After an extensive review of studies from a 26-year period on the subject, Dr. George Mammen and Professor Guy Faulkner of the University of Toronto concluded that as little as 30 minutes of exercise a day is an effective treatment for mild to moderate depression.
While diet alone won’t completely cure severe depression, eating foods rich in certain natural chemicals and vitamins can have a positive effect on mood. Tryptophan, which is found in proteins like beans, poultry, low-fat cheese and fish, stimulates the production of serotonin in your body, which is a neurotransmitter that regulates your mood. There may also be a correlation between depression and folate, vitamin B-12 and vitamin D deficiencies.
Sometimes all we need is someone to talk to in order to help us work through our problems. If your marriage is in trouble, for example, counseling is the best way to help identify the issues and create solutions. And for children too young to effectively talk through their problems, many counseling and therapy programs utilize play therapy where children are observed while playing in an effort to better understand the problem and help them work through it. If you think you or a family member could benefit from meeting with a counselor, don’t hesitate to investigate treatment.
In a study that tracked the effects of both negative and positive social cues on subjects who were depressed, researchers found that positive social engagement that fostered a sense of belonging resulted in personal satisfaction and a greater sense of meaning of life. Thus volunteering or joining a social activity like a rock climbing, kayaking or knitting group can encourage a sense of belonging and improve your mood.
While mental health issues may not be as obvious as physical ones, it can be just as debilitating if left untreated. If you find yourself feeling down, try one of these natural methods and never be afraid to consult a doctor.
Author bio: Savannah Coulsen is a freelance writer who lives in Raleigh. She loves to read and write and she hopes to write a novel someday. Savannah also loves learning and is a self-proclaimed health guru. If you need a counselor in Sioux Falls, SD, Savannah suggest you check out the services of Encompass Mental Health.