Mental illness can make living difficult. Everyday tasks seem unmanageable. Work is overwhelming and family life is a struggle. If you or someone you know is suffering from mental illness, take a look into some of these natural ways to improve mental health.
Natural Way to Improve Mental Health 1 – First, Be Sure the Diagnosis is Accurate
In this day and age where virtually everybody is prescribed a pill for something, it is very important to be sure the symptoms being experienced are related to mental illness. There are many physical ailments that mimic mental health problems. Thyroid disease, gluten intolerance, hypoglycemia and heavy metal toxicity are just a few of the physical illnesses that may at first be diagnosed as schizophrenia, depression or anxiety disorder. For a more detailed description of these and more diseases, I highly recommend reading my earlier article, “Could Your Mental Illness Actually Be Physical?”
Natural Way to Improve Mental Health 2 – Second, Make Some Dietary Changes
Hidden food intolerances can cause symptoms of mental illness. In my article, “Discover the Hidden Connection Between Gluten Intolerance and Your Mental Health”, I explain how this common food intolerance can wreak havoc not only on the body but the mind as well.
In addition to hidden food intolerances, mental health can also be affected by food preservatives such as:
High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup, which is found in virtually every processed food on the market, causes inflammation in the body that has been noted to increase mental anxiety and bring about mental illness. There is now a movement to ban high fructose corn syrup in the US on account of its terrible side effects.
Aspartame is one of the deadliest poisons we consume every day. There are a whopping 92 different symptoms related to aspartame poisoning, the most common being attention deficit disorder and panic disorder.
Food dyes such as Red Dye #40 and Yellow Dye #5 have been noted to affect both children and adults in a very negative way. Both have been linked to anxiety, hyperactivity and learning disorders. Yellow Dye #5 can also cause migraines and insomnia.
It is very important to become a label reader and drastically reduce or eliminate foods containing these additives from your diet.
A diet rich in a wide variety of healthy, raw, whole foods are the best natural choice for good mental and physical health. Choose organic meats, fruits, vegetables, beans and nuts as the staple of your diet. Indulge in dark organic chocolate for dessert. Dark chocolate can have a powerful impact on mental health by boosting the feel-good chemical in the brain, serotonin and encouraging relaxation.
Natural Way to Improve Mental Health 3 – Third, Take Some Supplements
The Western diet is full of fatty, fried and fast foods that take a toll on both physical and mental health. Though it is important to get the majority of nutrients from food, there are three nutrients those suffering with mental health symptoms should introduce to their diet.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids, such as those found in krill oil, are excellent for the brain. These fatty acids have been reported to decrease aggression and irritability, stabilize mood and prevent psychosis.
The pituitary gland needs magnesium in order to regulate the hormones that control adrenaline. Too much adrenaline in the body can result in irregular heartbeat, severe anxiety, insomnia, mania and depression. Those who are deficient in this mineral are at increase risk of committing suicide. Adding a chelated magnesium supplement to the diet can reverse these affects and stabilize both body and mind.
The Vitamin D Council has noted that evidence of mental illness has increased as humans exposure to the sun has decreased. Vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies in the US. This deficiency has been linked to depression, autism, brain abnormalities and schizophrenia as well as a host of physical diseases. Before taking a vitamin D supplement, have your blood levels tested by a trusted healthcare provider to determine how much of the supplement you need.
Natural Way to Improve Mental Health 4 – Fourth, Take Some Herbs
Herbs are nature’s healers. However, it is important to note that just because herbs are natural, does not mean there is no concern of side-effects or overdosing. It is important to consult with a trusted herbalist or naturopath before taking these herbs.
Valerian is a strong-smelling natural herb that can be used for anxiety and insomnia. Start with the smallest dose first (100-300mg) to see how you’ll react. Do not drive or operate machinery until this herb is completely out of your system.
St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort is an herb commonly used for depression. The herb tends to be well-tolerated by those suffering from mild to moderate depression and those using it report having few side-effects and little to no withdrawal symptoms.
Kava Kava is an herb that has been noted effective in treating social anxiety. Those with liver problems should not take this herb without consulting their healthcare provider.
Chamomile can be used to treat anxiety and insomnia. It can be taken in tea, tablet or tincture form. Those with bleeding disorders or allergies to plants in the daisy family should not take this herb.
Natural Way to Improve Mental Health 5 – Fifth, See a Chiropractor
Though most associate doctors of chiropractic medicine with treating back and neck injuries, they can help improve mental health as well. Physical and mental trauma can cause damage to the nervous system, which creates problems with the brain’s ability to properly communicate with the rest of the body. Gentle chiropractic adjustments can correct this block and help the nervous system rebalance and heal.
When it comes to mental health, there are many more choices available than just pharmaceutical drugs. Be sure to consult with a trusted healthcare provider before taking herbs if you are currently on any psychiatric medication or are pregnant or nursing.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of therapy. Instead of only seeing a psychiatrist for medication management, find a good therapist you can really talk to about the problems you’re facing.
Just having somebody to listen without passing judgment may prove to be the best medicine of all!