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How Does Lifestyle Impact Living With Mental Illness?

The type of lifestyle we lead greatly affects the way we age and carry out daily activities. Unfortunately, this often goes overlooked – we get carried away with life’s busy-ness and become entrenched in a multitude of things; our thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors are often exerted in response to a chaotic world. When we let life take us by storm, we miss out on the very factors that are important for our mental health – thus increasing our chances of developing a mental illness. Maybe you’ve been sucked into the demands of life, rushing to complete work deadlines, responding to emails, meeting family obligations, supporting yourself and others, and more. Of course, these responsibilities are often inevitable to “keep the ball rolling” – but when is the last time you took a good, long look at your mental health? Now is the time to check in with yourself.

A 2013 study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine sought to identify the major factors of a person’s lifestyle that affect those with mental illness. The researchers analyzed previous studies that had been conducted on the subject to find any emerging themes; results from the study showed several lifestyle factors that contributed to declined physical and mental health, including: low exercise levels, poor diet and nutrition, high cholesterol levels, tobacco smoking, and poor dental care.

The American Psychological Association (APA) emphasizes that therapeutic lifestyle changes – such as exercise for depression and the use of fish oil to help combat symptoms of psychosis – can be alternative, cost-effective ways to help you boost your mental health. Some other lifestyle factors you may want to take a close look at are:

    • Your daily routine – how much “down” time do you give yourself? (Too little can disrupt your mental health)
    • How often do you exercise?
    • What type of nutrition are you currently getting?
    • Asses your self-esteem – how do you feel about yourself? (If you have a low self-esteem, this could trigger mental health concerns)
    • Do you have a sense of community?
    • Do you partake in activities that enrich your life and give you meaning and purpose?
    • How much sleep are you getting? (Too much or too little can certainly have an impact on your mental health)
    • Who do you spend your time with? (Unhealthy connections and spending time with those who make you feel bad about yourself damages your mental health)
    • Are you abusing substances? (Excessive alcohol or drug use can trigger symptoms of mental illness and other issues)

This is a great exercise to help you get a glance at what you’re currently doing so that you can make some simple changes. If you haven’t already, speak with a professional to learn more about what you can do to improve your mental health. It’s never too late to seek help.

The Guest House Ocala specializes in the treatment of trauma, addictions, and related mental health issues. Clinical expertise, a compassionate team, and an outstanding attention to detail ensures each guest’s experience will be customized to their needs. Call us today for information on our residential treatment programs: 1-855-483-7800