Keeping your body healthy is crucial for a balanced life. While keeping fit and eating nutritional meals may be the most obvious ways of achieving this, it is also important to keep your mind healthy too. Improving your mental health will not only increase your productivity and happiness levels but could also decrease the risk of age-related memory loss and diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia.
Keeping your brain active and switched on in the day will help you focus more at work or on other activities, while staying relaxed during the evenings will improve your sleeping habits and reduce stress. Here are five easy things to incorporate into your daily life in order to achieve a balanced mind:
Exercise is known to not only keep your body in shape but to also improve your mind by helping reduce the risk of various mental health issues like depression by up to 30%1. It achieves this by releasing endorphins when you exercise which help prevent anxiety, make you feel elated and boost your confidence levels.
A regular work out or sports training session will also help you sleep better as it relaxes your muscles and relieve any tension that has built up in your body. Exercising also improves your memory and concentration as well as stimulating new growth in your brain cells2.
Keeping your mind relaxed, especially during stressful periods, can be a challenge. Luckily, setting aside a few minutes every day to meditate can aid in this as well as improve your sleep patterns and spatial awareness. There are many out there who argue that closing your eyes and switching off for a short amount of time each day could help clear your mind, lower your blood pressure and make you feel happier and more tolerant of others3.
Switching off your mobile phone at night
While we all use our mobile phone in the day to keep in touch, switching it off or putting it in flight mode when we're going to bed will help ensure you have an undisrupted night's sleep and feel more refreshed the following morning. If switched on, the lights, vibrations and noises from a phone when it receives a text, call or notification could wake you up. It is also a good idea to not use your phone in the hour before you go to bed as the lights from the screen will stimulate brain function and make it more difficult to fall asleep.
Avoid watching television before bed
Tuning in to your favourite programmes in the evening is great - but you should switch that screen off half an hour before you intend on going to bed. Why? The lights and noises from the TV overexcite the brain and will make it more difficult to fall asleep. Having a bad night's sleep can make you feel unproductive, tired, grumpy and unmotivated, and ultimately leave your mind feeling off balance and dysfunctional.
Decrease your caffeine and sugar intake
A cup of tea or coffee may be our favourite drink to opt for when we need an energy boost but drinking high amounts of caffeine can also have negative effects on our minds too. Some suggest that consuming too much caffeine can make you restless, nervous, give you muscle tremors and lead to insomnia4. We're no experts, by maybe stick to one or two cups a day, and try to introduce decaffeinated versions too. This should help you sleep better and consequently reduce your need for caffeine during the day.
Comparatively, sugar can be detrimental to your dental health as well as being the number one cause of obesity. While it may stimulate your mind for brief periods of time, the long-lasting effects of it on your body will help lower self-esteem and can lead to other worrying health problems like diabetes and heart disease5.
Any advice or health statistics mentioned in this article are for informational purposes only and should not replace advice given by a medical professional.
Cooking or part cooking your own meals is a good way of ensuring you are getting enough fibre and nutrients in your lunch time meal as well as preventing unwanted weight gain, extra expenses and irritating hunger pangs in the afternoon.