Mental health combines our thoughts, emotions, behaviours, and conscious and unconscious processes in mind. Our actions, feelings, ways of handling stress, and sound choices represent mental health. Our life experiences, use of alcoholic substances, physical problems, and chronic medical conditions can deteriorate mental health causing mental illness.
The issue is highly common and evident by diagnosis in more than 50% of the population. Mental illness can occur in any form, like schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), neuro-cognitive disorders, and many more. The abnormal behaviour requires medical assistance to feel happy and content again. Renowned health centers like Max Nanavati hospital provide the best neurologist in Mumbai for treating such conditions.
The treatment and prevention of mental illness can begin at home. Our daily activities, which form our habits, are very much responsible. Lifestyle changes can bring change not only to a multitude of factors but also to mental health. Here are a few habits that link to bad mental health.
Spending ‘me’ time, enjoying your own company, or not wanting to feel connected after a bad day is fine and does not count toward isolation. It is defined as separation, low frequency of social contact, and absence of social relationships. Apart from causing mental illness, it has associations with heart disease, obesity, suppressed immune system, neurological disorders, and other such problems.
- Poor Diet
Nutritional psychology links the role of the diet with mental health. Eating processed food decreases serotonin, a neurotransmitter directly associated with regulating appetite and mood. Additionally, processed foods contain massive amounts of sugars and trans-fat that contribute to inflammation within the body, leading to mood disorders and mental illness.
A bidirectional link between the gut and the brain is another factor of the interplay between diet, gut health, and psychology. The phenomenon again reflects the need for a fiber-rich balanced diet containing vegetables, fruits, dry fruits, and cereals.
A sedentary lifestyle, high screen time, and physical inactivity are highly common. But the same is associated with poor mental health as well. Long hours of inactivity generally result in fatigue, decreased motivation, anxiety, and depression, further deteriorating mental health.
Different studies have shown simple activities to lift the mood and develop enjoyment. The simple activities can involve walking to school or the office, cycling, increasing or creating a time for leisure activities depending upon personal choices that contribute to better mood and decrease inflammation, thus reducing the risk of mental illness.
- Constant stress
Stress is an obvious part of life, but excessive levels can be dangerous. Chronic stress has been proven to deteriorate physical and mental health. It involves the constant secretion of hormones specifically meant to change the body in stressful situations (fight, flight, and fright). On being secreted in mentioned situations, they bring about physiological changes. Constant secretion changes the normal body activities to constant stress, leading to harm.
The direct effect is seen by changes in brain structure contributing to modification in its volume, neural network, plasticity, density, and even atrophy of dendrons, responsible for neural signaling. The effect on immune cells, and hence inflammation, too, is visible. Numerous therapies and simply practising leisure time can alleviate the constant stress condition in the body.
- Screen time
As discussed above, the increased incidence of screen time requires special attention to the endeavour. Healthy people might get exposed to mental issues due to the high and irregular usage of electronic gadgets. A simple relation between low screen time and mental health can be seen through getting more free time to spend with friends and family, which reduces isolation and feelings of loneliness.
Reducing screen time is also correlated with mood upliftment, building social interactions and relations, and decreasing physical health abnormalities, achieved through constant and conscious efforts.
- Not practising gratitude
Gratitude refers to being thankful for the blessings you have. It holds simple psychology guiding better mental health by focussing on positive things. Constant surrounding with stress decreases the value and ignorance of numerous positive things the person has, and they are grateful.
A simple reminder of such things can decrease stress, depression, and anxiety by teaching pleasure, happiness and contentment. A systematic review of the working population showed stated results with decreased stress and depression.
It is among the habits passed through generations. The co-dependency refers to over-sacrificing oneself and prioritising others. The condition is often seen in relatives of people who overuse alcohol or drugs. It decreases mental health by losing boundaries, self-esteem, and self-worth, leading to ‘relationship addiction’. Additionally, emotional abuse takes a toll leading to mental illness.
Perfectionism is often considered a positive trait, but excessive giving in to perfection can lead to disturbed mental health. Perfection is required in every performed activity, but there lies positive and negative perfection. Negative perfectionism is linked to mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. The self-critical and self-blaming attitude decreases self-esteem, and worthiness, along with the feeling of shame hinders work, education, and social life.
- Guilt feeling
Some of the previously mentioned habits are indirectly linked with guilt, leading to mental health disorders. Guilt is sometimes taught in our behaviour through unconscious actions, which is evident in the form of abnormal actions.
The feelings of guilt are often seen as perceiving the small problems as huge, taking responsibility, and being anxious over little issues or the problems you were not directly involved in. It results in doubtfulness in oneself and their actions, along with not forgiving yourself, which may lead to depression and isolation.
- Negative mindset
It is linked with numerous mental illnesses like personality disorders, chronic worries, anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and many others. It is associated with degrading one’s worth and thinking about negative consequences. Dealing with negativity also results in stress conditions, abnormal behaviour and expression of emotions, declining mood, and ignoring better future opportunities due to low self-esteem.
Mental illness is a highly common issue, leading to the fact that it is nothing to be ashamed of. The methods mentioned above inculcate a huge control of mental health that lies in the individual’s hand. A different perspective on life can improve mental health and offer new opportunities. Hospitals like Max Nanavati hospital hold expertise in dealing with such psychological issues. Among the best neurologist in Mumbai, a few are Dr. Sharmila Banwat, Dr. Vani Kulhalli, Dr. Ajit Dandekar, and others.