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.
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.
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