Adequate exposure to sunshine helps levels of the mood-maintaining chemical serotonin.
It also boosts vitamin D levels, which also has an effect on mental health, and helps at the appropriate time to regulate our sleep-wake cycle.
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People with alcohol and drug problems have a greater likelihood than average of having a mental illness and have far poorer health outcomes.
Stopping smoking is an important step, as nicotine-addicted people are constantly at the mercy of a withdrawal-craving cycle, which profoundly affects mood.
Sleep hygiene techniques aim to improve sleep quality and help treat insomnia.
They include: adjusting caffeine use, limiting exposure to the bed (regulating your sleep time and having a limited time to sleep), limiting exposure to the blue light from smartphones, and making sure you get up at a similar time in the morning.
Positive lifestyle changes aren’t a replacement for medication or psychological therapy but, rather, as something people can undertake themselves on top of their treatment.
While many lifestyle changes can be positive, some changes (such as avoiding junk foods, alcohol, or giving up smoking) may be challenging if being used as a psychological crutch.
During the day:
Lack of sleep can result in you feeling lethargic, grumpy and tired. If you often feel this way, you may want to consider whether you’re getting enough sleep.
Try and aim for around 7 hours of quality sleep per night. Wind down from your day with relaxing behaviors before bed.
Our gut’s flora influences our mood, behavior and brain health. Chemical messengers produced in our stomach influence our emotions, appetite and our reactions to stressful situations.
Prebiotics and probiotics found in yogurt, cheese and fermented foods work on the same pathways in the brain as antidepressant medications and studies have found they might have similar effects.