STAY­ING WELL

Women's Weekly (Malaysia) - - INSPIRE -

What is most ef­fec­tive in treat­ing anx­i­ety or de­pres­sion dif­fers from per­son to per­son, but there are many things you can do to help your­self get bet­ter and pre­vent a re­lapse

MOVE FOR BET­TER MEN­TAL HEALTH

Ex­er­cise is good for your phys­i­cal health, but it also has some great ben­e­fits for your men­tal health. It...

Im­proves mood. When you ex­er­cise your brain re­leases chem­i­cals like en­dor­phins and sero­tonin that im­prove mood.

Re­duces iso­la­tion. Get­ting out while you ex­er­cise lessens feel­ings of iso­la­tion. Low­ers stress. This helps to re­lieve feel­ings of anx­i­ety. Helps you con­nect. Join­ing a gym or ex­er­cise class helps you meet oth­ers. Im­proves sleep. Sleep­ing well is cor­re­lated with bet­ter mood.

How much ex­er­cise?

At least 30 min­utes of mod­er­ate-toin­ten­sive ac­tiv­ity on most or all days of the week.

PET BEN­E­FITS

It’s no se­cret that own­ing a pet can bring joy into our lives, but new re­search shows a furry friend can also play an im­por­tant role in the man­age­ment of long-term men­tal ill­ness. Just pat­ting a pet can ease stress and re­duce blood pres­sure, while hav­ing a dog is a great mo­ti­va­tor to get out­doors. Hav­ing a pet to care for also gives your day pur­pose.

TRUST YOUR GUT

Pro­bi­otics or good bac­te­ria are well known for their pos­i­tive ef­fects on di­ges­tive health, but be­cause of the strong con­nec­tion be­tween our brain and our gut, sci­en­tists are find­ing they may also work to lower lev­els of anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion. You can start by eat­ing a good-qual­ity nat­u­ral yo­ghurt or ke­fir on most days, and in­tro­duc­ing fer­mented foods like sauer­kraut, miso, tem­peh and kim­chi into your diet.

DRINK­ING DOWN­SIDE

Limit your al­co­hol in­take if you choose to drink. Heavy drink­ing can lead to de­pres­sion or make it worse, since al­co­hol is a de­pres­sant. Even at mod­er­ate lev­els, al­co­hol can re­duce the ef­fec­tive­ness of an­tide­pres­sants.

THE SLEEP EF­FECT

When sleep is dis­rupted over and over, it can al­ter brain ac­tiv­ity and the chem­i­cals that af­fect a per­son’s mood, which may ex­plain why peo­ple with in­som­nia are 10 times more likely to be di­ag­nosed with de­pres­sion. Ob­struc­tive sleep ap­noea, a con­di­tion in which a per­son wakes fre­quently and very briefly through­out the night, is linked to de­pres­sion as well.

What you can do: If you find your­self sleep­ing too lit­tle or too much on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, con­sult your doc­tor who will de­cide if fur­ther tests or a treat­ment plan is nec­es­sary. If you’re one of the 45 per cent of Aus­tralians who don’t sleep well, go to sleep­health­foun­da­tion.org.au for

sleep-well tips.

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