It is important to maintain and promote mental health and well-being. Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Poor mental health can have serious consequences on how we think, feel, and act and can even lead to harmful consequences and disorders, including depression, anxiety, and suicide if the problem is severe enough and persists.
Mental illnesses are serious, yet common, disorders that can affect mood and behavior. These issues can be occasional or long-lasting and can affect day-to-day functioning and ability to interact and relate with others.
There are a number of ways that you can improve your situation and help to increase mental well-being. One of the best ways to do this is through meditation and mindfulness practices.
How Meditation Can Help
According to the National Institute on Health, many studies have been conducted to look at how meditation may be helpful for a variety of conditions and disorder. In fact, it can help with high blood pressure and certain psychological disorders including anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Meditation is considered a safe option for healthy people but people with physical limitations may not be able to participate in certain meditative practices.
Meditation is a mind and body practice that has a history in increasing relaxation, calmness, and overall health. There are a number of types of meditation, however most will combine four elements:
- A quiet location with few distractions
- A specific, comfortable posture
- Focusing attention
- An open attitude
During this, it is important that you let distractions come and go naturally, don’t think too hard on them.
The real question when it comes to meditation is how effective is it? Is there a real purpose to doing this?
There are a number of studies that have been done to look at the effectiveness of mediation and how it can affect and ease physical and mental health issues.
There have been many studies that have looked into meditation’s ability to reduce pain, while these studies have produced some mixed results, there are many that have shown that meditation activates certain areas in the brain in response to pain. In fact, a 2016 study conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health found that mindfulness meditation does help to control pain and suggests that combining mindfulness exercises with pain medication and other approaches can be particularly useful for reducing pain.
High Blood Pressure
As mentioned before, meditation can be particularly helpful in reducing high blood pressure. A trial of almost 300 university students found that transcendental meditation may be effective in lowering blood pressure for people that have an increased risk of dealing with high blood pressure. Reviews and reports from the American Heart Association also corroborate this point. However it is uncertain whether transcendental meditation is superior to other forms of meditation and mindfulness techniques in terms of lowering blood pressure.
These finding also suggested that practicing meditation can be helpful in dealing with psychological distress, anxiety, depression, and more.
Depression and Anxiety
There is much evidence that meditation and mindfulness practices can help with improving mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. A 2014 review of nearly 50 trials in over 3500 participants found moderate evidence for improving these things. Other reviews have had similar results, with many reporting better outcomes for anxiety symptoms in meditation groups compared to control groups.
Other Way To Improve Mental Health
Besides meditation, there are many ways that you can improve your mental wellbeing and overall health. By committing to a few small lifestyle changes, you may be able to alleviate some symptoms associated with mental health disorders.
We all know that physical exercise can be incredibly helpful for improving overall physical and mental health. There are many studies that have looked into the impact that exercise can have on the body, with many finding that it can improve sleep, endurance, stress relief, mood, and more.
Limit Alcohol and Drugs
For many, alcohol and drugs can cause issues and lead to cyclical problems related to mental health. For many people dealing with some type of substance abuse disorder, they generally have a co-occuring disorder related to mental health, such as depression or anxiety. Learning more about addiction and identifying drug abuse can help you or your loved one get sober, which can help their overall mental health situation.
Diet is something that is often overlooked when it comes to living healthy. Many believe that just going to the gym or going on a run is good enough. However, a lot of physical and mental health improvements can come from the kitchen. It is important to be sure that you are getting a diet that is nutrient- and vitamin-rich. Make sure your meals are balanced. It is ok to have a cheat day every once in a while, just try not to make a habit of it.