Five keys to good mental health

Five keys to good mental health

First of all, I want to say that I am not a mental health professional. I was a high school social studies and education teacher for 34 years, and I am certified in Mental Health First Aid, but still, these suggestions are only personal opinion and do not represent professional advice.

• The first recommendation deals with sleep. Most professionals recommend eight hours of sleep a night for adults. More than eight hours can lead to depression or at least sluggishness. Less than eight hours can cause anxiety or nervousness. However, I maintain that the dream does not have to be completed in a block of time. Personally, I sleep about three hours, work on projects for an hour or two, sleep an hour or two more; then I take a nap or two during the day when I’m tired. Sometimes naps last an hour, sometimes just ten minutes. I think the key is to sleep when your body tells you that it needs to rest. Of course, I am semi-retired and my schedule may not work for most professionals.

• A mindful diet is helpful for mental stability. I recommend a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids. These can include most nuts and seeds, but the most helpful are walnuts, sunflower seeds, ground flax seeds, and soaked chia seeds. I like to soak my chia seeds in milk overnight and that combination ends up like a tapioca pudding. Cold-water fish provide substantial omega-3 fatty acids: sardines, salmon, trout, char, and herring lead the parade in this area. Avocado is another useful food in this area. Low-fat proteins are helpful, including beans, chicken, fish, and turkey. Of course, a diet based on fruits and vegetables is important, and finally, probiotics are useful for digestion. Those can include pickles, sauerkraut, and yogurt.

• Another important step includes respect: respect yourself, treat yourself and value yourself. Find a hobby like fishing; Go to a nice restaurant or movie once a month, keep a journal of your thoughts, or even go shopping.

• Exercise is another important aspect that boosts your self-esteem and overall mental health. A walk in the fresh air, especially in a park or in the woods, providing fresh air, strength and sunshine can provide much-needed vitamin D to avoid depression.

• Finally, it is helpful to interact with others face to face. The conversation can provide a feeling of value. It is beneficial to put down your smartphone and deal with people in person.

These five keys will not guarantee good mental health, but they will go a long way toward that end.

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