How Are You Doing?
When someone asks, "How are you doing?" is it more of a greeting or an actual concern? Most people reply, "I'm well," and keep it moving. Attitudes toward mental health awareness are looking brighter, but we don't discuss the importance of our mental well-being as openly as maybe we should.
Mental wellness, in a normal, healthy brain, starts with stress management. In our busy, noise-polluted, workaholic society, we are filled with various types and levels of anxiety daily. In the pre-Covid years, mental health problems have been on an unhealthy incline.
Nearly two million children in America are suffering from depression. An estimated 15% of adults will experience depression at least once in their lives. The U.S. Mental Health Organization said, "For individuals from 15 to 24 years of age, suicide ranks as a leading cause of death."
A person can become physically ill from anxiety or any mental illness, temporary or chronic. The effect could lead to an drug addiction, gut problems, headaches, acne, TMJ, fatigue—The list is endless. Photo Credit: Women's Alzheimer's Movement Organization
The Women's Alzheimer's Movement Organization stated, "Every 65 secs a new brain develops Alzheimer and 2/3 are women." Women's stats are sky high due to the hormonal changes in contrast to men's steadier hormones, which affect the way women process and react to stress.
Good Stress vs. Bad Stress
Being healthy doesn’t mean that your body is not affected. Stress attacks the brain first. Then, the whole body if it worsens.
Of course, there is such a thing as good stress (eustress) that releases adrenaline. It kicks in when you need that boost of energy to reach the finish line. Then, there's bad stress. It releases cortisol that disrupts our brain function.
The brain shrinks naturally as we age, but chronic stress can make a brain smaller and fog its memory. Essentially, the brain's white and grey matter are imbalanced. This is especially prevalent in people with Post Traumatic Disorder Syndrome (PTSD).
"Higher serum cortisol was associated with lower brain volumes and impaired memory in asymptomatic younger to middle-aged adults, with the association being evident particularly in women," according to The Framingham Heart Study.
Typically, people don't want to bother others, including family or close friends, with their problems. But that's what family and friends are for, through the good times and the bad. Annually, over 60% of American youth with depression don't seek help. With the suicide rates at an all-time high, this is scary. Additionally, the numbers are increasing in adults at the same rate.
Chronic stress easily leads to depression. Aside from a diagnosed mental illness, there are temporary conditions, such as depression, that can become a lifetime struggle. So, it's always important to seek help to heal, not suppress it. There are free resources, and any mental health professional will keep your information private.
When someone is depressed, it affects her or his brain. Depending on the severity, like major depression, it can change the way the brain works. Inside the brain lives the amygdala, which is where emotional responses are. The high cortisol increase while in a depression enlarges it causing hormonal changes, deeper depression, insomnia, etc.
It's hard to balance our emotions with all that goes on in our daily lives. The most important note to remember is to seek help. There are paid, income-based, or free mental health professional services. Millions of people around the globe are suffering without seeking help. It's time not to be ashamed of taking care of our mental health. Your life is just as important as anybody else's.
Being happy 24-7 is a lie. Please don't force yourself to be on 10 every single day when you're not up to it. It's ok to feel what you feel, but it may be time to seek a professional if it's overwhelming.
➊ The news on TV is bad, but there is good news. You don't have to watch all of it. Staying aware is not equal to news being the focus of the whole day.➋ Skin is usually where our mental health's effects surface. Some situations may be unpreventable. We can offset unforeseen stress with all our power by eating a healthy diet filled with salads, raw foods, and plenty of water— no fast food, fried, and processed foods.
By staying on top of your skin care routine and using non-toxic products, you can help skin stress less. During intense times, certain ingredients can have a worse effect on your already stressed skin. Try our clean, cruelty-free serum, Rescue Skin, for a powerful refresher.
➌ Move your body, even when you don't feel like it. It can be something simple like stretching, jumping jacks, yoga poses, walking around the block and back, or going all out with a run or gym workout. The adrenaline will fill you up with much-needed endorphins to boost your mood.
➍ Wind down for sleep ahead of time. Try to relax about two hours before your planned bedtime. It's best to get 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Consistently healthy sleep gives your body the time it needs to heal and work out the kinks of the day.
➎ Probiotics are great overall, particularly under duress. When someone is suffering from a mental condition or illness, the whole body suffers, especially the gut. The brain is known as the second gut. You can read Dr. Kahana's breakdown of gut health and what you can do better it.
➏ Slow down so your brain can keep up. We live in a fast-paced society but it doesn’t mean our brains have the ability to process at the same tempo. Create a "distraction free time."
We are better and stronger together. Be honest with yourself and your loved ones. Check on each other's mental health, even your strong friends. We all need love.