How can you im­prove your men­tal health and well-be­ing in 2016?

Pakistan Observer - - KARACHI CITY -

The new year is here, and most of us are likely to have made at least one res­o­lu­tion for 2016. But while the ma­jor­ity of our goals for the com­ing year will in­cor­po­rate im­prove­ments in phys­i­cal health - such as hit­ting the gym and los­ing weight - have you thought about how you could im­prove your men­tal health? The new year is here. But have you thought about ways you can im­prove your men­tal health and well-be­ing in 2016?

Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO): “Men­tal health is an in­te­gral part of health; in­deed, there is no health with­out men­tal health.”

This is a state­ment that is sup­ported by nu­mer­ous stud­ies. One from 2012 pub­lished in The BMJ, for ex­am­ple, found that in­di­vid­u­als with poor men­tal health are at in­creased risk of death from car­dio­vas­cu­lar disease and can­cer.

Other re­search re­cently re­ported by Med­i­cal News To­day linked men­tal ill­ness to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. What is more, stud­ies have as­so­ci­ated poor men­tal health with gen­der dis­crim­i­na­tion, so­cial ex­clu­sion, in­creased risk of vi­o­lence and crime and an un­healthy life­style.

But what is the def­i­ni­tion of good men­tal health? WHO say it is a “state of well­be­ing in which an in­di­vid­ual re­al­izes his or her own abil­i­ties, can cope with the nor­mal stresses of life, can work pro­duc­tively and is able to make a con­tri­bu­tion to his or her com­mu­nity.” The UK’s Men­tal Health Foun­da­tion also de­scribe good men­tal health as the abil­ity to learn, form good re­la­tion­ships with oth­ers, and ex­press, man­age and feel an ar­ray of pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive emo­tions.

In this Spot­light, we look at some ways in which you could im­prove your men­tal health and well-be­ing, ready to take on what­ever life throws at you in 2016.

Most of us are aware that a healthy, bal­anced diet is ben­e­fi­cial for phys­i­cal health.

It can help with weight main­te­nance and pro­tect against a range of ill­nesses, in­clud­ing heart disease, di­a­betes and can­cer. But fol­low­ing a healthy diet also has ben­e­fits for men­tal well-be­ing. As the Men­tal Health Foun­da­tion state: “Your brain needs a mix of nu­tri­ents to stay healthy and func­tion well, just like the other or­gans in your body.”

One of the health­i­est di­ets is con­sid­ered to be the Mediter­ranean diet, which in­cor­po­rates high con­sump­tion of beans, nuts, ce­re­als, seeds, plant­based foods and fruits. The diet is also low in sat­u­rated fat, in­cludes mod­er­ate con­sump­tion of fish, poul­try and dairy, and low con­sump­tion of meats and sug­ary foods.A woman hold­ing fruit

Ex­perts say fol­low­ing a healthy diet is ben­e­fi­cial for good men­tal health and well-be­ing.

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