Mental Health “IS” Physical Health


We spend a lot of time, money, and energy taking care of our bodies. We have regular checkups with the doctor, we eat right (try to at least), and workout regularly (errr, try to at least). Why don’t we try taking care of our brains in the same fashion? Our brain is a PHYSICAL object as well, and it needs to be cared for and nurtured the same way we care for our bodies. We should consider the above efforts to be beneficial to our mental health as well. Here are three things you can do TODAY to start a path to a healthier brain, and a happier you:

1) Go for a walk: Schedule some time today to take a walk. The sunlight is good for your skin (Vitamin D), and the exercise is not only good for your body…it is good for your brain. It improves blood flow to the brain, and releases natural endorphins to improve mood. Some have suggested that 30 minutes of exercise is equal to 12 hours of brain health. Walking can help clear your mind…as it helps to reduce stress and improve resiliency. Longer term you could try something like learning a new sport.

2) Read a book: Try reading something different than what you typically would read. Learning about something new forces our brain to make new connections, and fosters an environment of forming new neurons. Over time this can lead to not only a healthier brain, but a much happier and confident person! You may be surprised of how quickly you can become interested in a topic you once thought was dry and boring. Longer term you could try something like learning a new language.

3) Reduce caffeine: When we feed our body we are feeding our brain too. When we put unhealthy substances in our bodies (alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, etc.) it affects the way our brain regulates us. Understand that these drugs can have a negative effect on our brain with prolonged or abusive use. Caffeine targets our adenosine receptors, and keeps us from naturally getting tired. This can affect our body’s ability to rest properly, or get a good night’s sleep. Longer term you could try quitting these substances altogether (beware of the withdraw symptoms before you attempt).

Next time you are trying to eat right and workout...remember…you are doing it for your brain too! Mental health IS physical health. To learn more I recommend picking up the book, “Making a Good Brain Great” by Dr. Daniel Amen.

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