Three Tips On Why Physical Health is Important for Mental Health
By Dr. Anju Bhargava & Maahi Jain
At the end of a stressful workday, you may find yourself wanting to kick back, relax, and watch your favorite sitcom. While it feels great at the moment and can reduce some short-term stress, it’s much more beneficial to get outside and go for a walk instead. Getting your body moving and working your muscles is clinically proven to benefit mental health.
It may seem tough to create a workout routine, which is why you might find yourself putting the task off. However, you don’t have to do complicated weight training or gym classes! Exercise can be as simple as walking your dog, doing a 15-minute yoga session in your living room, or even playing frisbee with your family. It is important to keep your body moving in a way that feels enjoyable to you.
Sleep is one of the most important parts of our day – after all, we are supposed to be sleeping for at least ⅓ of our day! Getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining motivation and a healthy lifestyle. A healthy sleep routine has many other benefits including prolonged life, better brain function, a higher daily metabolism, and decreased chances of falling sick.
Getting a good night’s sleep may seem difficult but the key is consistency. Maintain a daily night wind-down routine and go to bed at the same time every night. It is important to make sure that your bedroom is quiet, dark, and at a comfortable temperature for you to fall asleep. However, don’t worry if you have trouble sleeping at times! Try getting up, moving around a bit, and then relax your mind and try again. The more you stress over it, the more difficult it will be to fall asleep.
3. Eating Well
Although it might seem easy to eat some instant ramen or frozen pizza after working all day, it may be more beneficial instead to cook a healthy meal. Boosting your mental health can come with eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, lentils, and nuts. Eating healthy promotes good bacteria in your body, which promotes higher brain function. On the other hand, a steady diet of junk food can cause inflammation that can stop the production.
Some essential ingredients that help with brain function include magnesium (in the form of spinach, bananas, dark chocolate, and beans), antioxidants (such as salmon, chia seeds, turmeric, and berries), and fiber (such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains). Having these foods on hand can help, especially when you’re busy.
About Dr. Anju Bhargava:
Dr. Anju Bhargava earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Washington State University, an American Psychological Association (APA) accredited program. She completed an APA-accredited predoctoral internship at the University of Delaware Counseling Center. She is a licensed psychologist in the state of Washington since 2014 and is a member of the APA. Prior to Curio Digital Therapeutics, she worked as a Research Psychologist for the Department of Defense, Defense Health Agency, Connected Health Branch formerly known as the National Center for Telehealth and Technology. She is passionate about combining psychology and technology as she previously co-founded iMomConnect, a child development company focused on promoting optimal cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development in children using mobile applications. In addition, she has previously served as an Assistant Professor of Psychology for undergraduate and graduate students.
About Maaahi Jain:
Maahi Jain is currently earning her Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience at Mercer University and is an intern with Curio Digital Therapeutics. She is a pre-medical student hoping to go into the field of women’s health. Her research interests are focusing on women’s hormones, studying the effects of estrogen and progesterone on female productivity in organizational neuroscience. She attended the 2022 Association for Psychological Sciences conference for her current research and plans to continue expanding on her education in women’s health through Curio and other similar projects. Aside from her work with Curio, Maahi is also working with Postpartum Support International to train healthcare providers and medical students in providing postpartum support to new mothers in rural Georgia. She is passionate about psychiatry and rural health and plans to continue her path to an MD in the near future.