We’ve all struggled with our mental health from time to time. Knowing where to start with healing can also be hard.
So many people feel like things will never change with their mental health. But today I want to give you a whole new perspective on why things are not changing.
This article may surprise you a bit and some people will have opinions about it. But over the years as a mental health therapist and health coach, along with my own personal journey, these are the key points people are missing.
I am in no way putting down mental health care, as I see it first hand and great progress is made with the care. I am sharing what we are missing in this care and how we can change that to better the healing process.
When I started healing my own mental health I was in a chronic state of stress and anxiety. I was overwhelmed by everything but had no way of dealing with it.
I also was not taking care of myself! Sure, I was doing some exercising, but I wasn’t consistent and I wasn’t doing any form of self-care. I didn’t know HOW to take care of my mental health.
This is what I learned:
- Mental health is caused by lifestyle habits
Many people believe that mental health is caused by a chemical reaction in the brain, and while it is true that there are some genetic factors involved, it is almost entirely caused by lifestyle.
A major contributor is food. Many foods today are packaged and processed, containing chemicals that alter our bodies state. This includes, but is not limited to, refined sugar, artificial flavors, and preservatives.
Other contributors include movement (or lack of movement), stress, sleep, and toxins. I’m not going to go into these here, but the general idea is that a lack of movement and sleep and an overload of stress and toxins declines our mental health.
The harm starts in the gut and since the gut and brain are directly linked, our mental health is effected.
- Nutrition is at the core of mental health
Like I mentioned above, nutrition is a major contributor to mental health. Our bodies survive on food, right? When we put processed food in our bodies, it doesn’t know what to do. Our bodies are not meant to break down these types of food. So this throws our whole system into whack and creates an imbalance. This is when you see symptoms like depression, anxiety, and even things like fatigue and brain fog.
- Many people start in the wrong place
Have you ever heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? Basically, humans have to have basic survival needs that have to be met (aka food, water, shelter). We can them move up a step to safety and security such as family, health, and employment. Step 3 is love and belonging, step 4 is self-esteem, and step 5 is self-actualization.
Most of the time people don’t even consider the first step. At least in America, access to food, water, and shelter is not something most people have to worry about on a daily basis. But what if we should be considering this step more?
Most people, whether they realize it or not, are undernourished, dehydrated, and sleep deprived. These are all basic needs people are not getting.
So when we start by trying to heal our mental health with therapy (which is a wonderful tool and should be utilized when needed), we fall short of our basic needs and are not likely to succeed in healing our mental health.
- Results take time
I have seen way to many people give up because they are not seeing results. This is really hard to see because what they may not understand is results take time! Results don’t happen in a week and usually not even in a month.
We have to be patient with our bodies and allow them the time and space to heal.
My healing journey took YEARS and it is still a work in progress. Everyone progressed at different rates, but give yourself grace when it’s not in the time frame you expect.
- It’s okay to get help
So often we go through life trying to do everything on our own (I am so guilty of this!). But one of the greatest things we can do is ask for help.
We can’t do everything on our own. Knowing when we need to ask for help is a healthy way to make our way toward healing.
If you have been struggling for some time and are at a loss for what is going to help, it’s time to ask for help.
If you think it’s time to ask for help, I would be happy to guide you on your way toward healing. As an integrative nutrition coach I work with clients to change lifestyle habits in order to heal their mental health. If you are interested in more info on coaching, fill this form out and I will send more info your way!
You can also grab my Gut Health For Mental Health Guide Here!