How To Rewire Your Brain For Optimal Mental Health
Mental health issues are increasing year by year. Many people in the world are becoming more anxious and depressed due to various factors, such as diet, the lack of exercise, a stressful work environment, awkward social situations, social media, loneliness, etc.
I have anxiety myself, so I am aware of the struggles of dealing with an anxious mind and body, and know what it is like to have a mental health disorder. When I learned about neuroplasticity, it did give me a lot of hope for a future with less anxiety. Neoplasticity is your brain’s ability to change itself based on your experiences, habits, and thoughts.
The things you experience throughout your life, as well as your lifestyle habits really change your brain. What you say to yourself can change your brain as well. You can change the structure of your brain, as well as the processes that happen in the brain.
Expose Yourself to Uncomfortable Situations for Your Mental Health
If you put yourself in situations that are stressful, and you do that frequently, you could potentially train your body to adapt to stressful situations, and you will become more resilient naturally. You have probably heard a lot of people say that in order to overcome your fears, you need to face them. It is because you train and condition your brain to not be as afraid of certain things.
Exercise to Improve Mental Health
You do not necessarily have to dive into a shark cage, but the wonderful thing is that you can train your body to adapt better to uncomfortable and stressful situations. Just starting with something like exercise can help you start to handle stress easier.
Exercise is a type of hermetic stress. Hermetic stress is a form of stress that triggers a beneficial response in your body afterwards. Exercise puts stress on the body, and can train your body to adapt to stress if you do it regularly.
One of the best things you can do for your mental health is to exercise. Many people report significant relief from exercising regularly. Doing cardio and weightlifting are both great for anxiety and depression. Add fun workouts as well if you want to lift your mood and train your brain to associate movement with joy and stress relief.
The wonderful thing that happens is if you regularly exercise to improve your mental health and relieve stress, anxiety, and depression, over time, your body will start craving exercise when you are when in that kind of state instead of turning to unhealthy habits.
Being able to endure exercise also trains you to push through in stressful situations in other areas in your life. Believe it or not, but doing yoga and staying in the poses can help you stay calm when in a stressful meeting, and it can help you push through work-related stress discomfort as well.
Training your brain to push through one type of discomfort will help you to push through other types of uncomfortable and stressful situations as well, and you will become more resilient to stress in general.
Exercise also triggers the release of endorphins and neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which are important in the treatment of mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression.
Focus on Tryptophan If You Want to Rewire Your Brain to Improve Mental Health
Your brain needs tryptophan in order to make enough serotonin. Tryptophan is an amino acid that can be found in high-protein foods like chicken, eggs, pork, beef, etc. The only thing is that tryptophan must compete with other amino acids and usually loses, so enough of it does not always reach the brain to produce enough serotonin.
There are things that you can do to help tryptophan reach your brain, so that it can produce serotonin. Exercise helps tryptophan reach your brain. Also make sure that your vitamin D levels are optimal through sun exposure, supplementation, and diet, as vitamin D also helps tryptophan reach your brain. You can find vitamin D in egg yolks, cod liver oil, and mushrooms.
Consuming some carbohydrates will also help tryptophan reach your brain, as carbohydrates help the other amino acids enter the other cells in your body, which gives tryptophan a chance to reach your brain.
Meditate to Rewire Your Brain for Mental Health
Meditation and mindfulness practices can also help to rewire your brain to be calmer in general. It is not easy to start a regular meditation practice, but you can start slowly by only trying to do it for three minutes a day, and building up to five minutes, ten minutes, and maybe 20 minutes to improve your mental health. Ten minutes of meditation a day should be enough to reap the benefits.
To make meditation a lot easier at first, you can try and find guided meditations online or download an app, and you can get meditations of various lengths and themes. Perhaps you can find meditation classes in your neighbourhood.
Movement meditation is one that I particularly like, because I struggle to sit still sometimes. For me, dancing is a form of meditation, but many people do get into the meditative state and are very mindful when playing golf or just hitting a few balls at the driving range, going for a run, or just going for a walk.
As we always say at The Hart of Health, you should find what works for you and what you think will be sustainable for you to follow in the long run.
Rewiring your brain for your mental health takes a lot of time, but it is worth it. Being diagnosed with anxiety or depression, or simply knowing that you are anxious or depressed at times, does not have to be a mental prison sentence, it does not have to be a trap. You can improve the symptoms at least and reduce the frequency of anxiety and depression episodes and the intensity of them.
These are just a few tips on how to rewire your brain for optimal mental health, but it is important to start small when trying to make any changes surrounding your health if you want to stick to them and not become overwhelmed.