What do probiotics, phoning a friend and taking the stairs have in common? Science says they can all contribute to better mental health!

With depression and anxiety rates among adults and teens in the spotlight, it’s more important than ever to look after your mental health. This might sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be! These practical tips will help you boost your mental health and wellbeing without it feeling like a chore.

1. Be kind to yourself

Sometimes we don’t treat ourselves very well at all. From the inner voice that tells you you need to lose weight to feeling like a failure because your kids didn’t eat any vegetables yesterday, we are often our own harshest critics. But studies show that people who are more compassionate with themselves tend to be happier.[1]

An easy way to be kinder to yourself is to treat yourself with the same level of kindness and understanding that you’d show to a friend. Instead of being hard on yourself, stop and think about what you would say to a friend in the same situation.

2. Take a probiotic

More and more research is showing that your gut and your brain are intricately connected. The gut has been called our second brain because it produces so many of the same neurotransmitters that the brain produces (including feel good hormones serotonin and dopamine).

Scientists still need to investigate how this happens and how exactly gut health affects our mental health, but some studies show that probiotics may help boost mood and cognitive function and lower stress and anxiety.[2]

Reuterina makes it easy for the whole family to maintain a healthy balance of intestinal flora. Reuterina Daily (for adults), Reuterina Junior (for kids) and Reuterina Drops (for babies) are clinically proven to colonise the entire gastrointestinal tract and keep your ‘good’ bacteria intact. For women, Reuterina Femme is specifically formulated to restore and maintain healthy vaginal flora and prevent recurring vaginal infections.

3. Move more

Of course we all know that exercise is good for us physically, but did you know that it also has psychological benefits? Exercise helps with decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety, reducing stress levels and boosting your brain’s performance and creativity.[3] In fact, a recent study shows that people who exercise experienced 43% fewer days of poor mental health than people who don’t exercise.[4]

If you aren’t getting any exercise, even small changes can make a big difference. Go for a walk during your lunch break, take the stairs or play outside with your kids. It’s much easier to stay committed if you have other people to hold you accountable. Why not get some friends involved too?

Research shows that it’s not about the number of relationships you have, but more about their quality.

4. Get social

And no, we aren’t talking about social media! Real social connections benefit our long-term health in all sorts of ways, including feeling happier.[5] Research shows that it’s not about the number of relationships you have, but more about their quality.

Nurturing strong relationships can sometimes be difficult – especially because everyone is always so busy – but it’s worth it. Right now you can call someone to find out how they’re doing, organise a get together with family this weekend or schedule a regular catch-up with friends.

5. See someone

If you think you (or someone you know) might be suffering from depression or anxiety, one of the best things you can do is reach out to a mental health professional. SADAG’s website is just a click away and it’s a great place to start if you’re looking for support, resources or need to chat to a counsellor.

 


Resources:

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26311196

[2] https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/probiotics-may-help-boost-mood-and-cognitive-function

[3] https://www.waldenu.edu/online-bachelors-programs/bs-in-psychology/resource/five-mental-benefits-of-exercise

[4] https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpsy/article/PIIS2215-0366(18)30227-X/fulltext

[5] https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/the-health-benefits-of-strong-relationships