When a person is stricken with a serious mental health disorder, the diagnosis is usually followed by a set of rules and strategies that guide the patient through the recovery process. However, some of these guidelines may make one feel restricted, especially in the modern age. Many American adults live busy lives that revolve around a constant cycle of work and other obligations. First of all, these rapid and demanding lifestyle trends contribute to the growing percentage of overly stressed workers, most of whom have a clinical case of anxiety disorder. Equally important, there is also a number of behavioral shortcuts, commonly called “life-hacks” that everyday people can utilize. These hacks allow individuals to lessen their daily woes and increase their mental resilience, even on a tight schedule.
One general behavior that a lot of recovering clients have trouble keeping up with is consistent exercise. Over the decades, research has built strong support for the use of exercise to not only condition one’s body, but to strengthen his or her mind as well. For example, a 2004 study of survey data examined the effect of exercise interventions in the treatment of mental disorders and found that higher levels of physical activity were correlated to a greater quality of life among those diagnosed with a condition. Despite this evidence, approximately 80 percent of Americans do not perform the suggested levels of exercise.
Whether the reasons are due to its degree of difficulty, a lack of motivation or availability, there are some helpful tools that can make the process less intimidating, including:
- Having a partner to workout with exhibited a greater performance on aerobic tasks throughout multiple sessions.
- Music’s positive influence on physical activity includes distracting a person from pain and fatigue in addition to elevating mood and increasing endurance.
- Visualizing the physical contractions of an exercise while resting was associated with better motor performance and internal motivation.
Another preventable source of a lot of mental, emotional and behavioral dysfunction is unhealthy sleep patterns. According to the latest and most significant findings from Harvard Medical School, chronic sleep disturbances may increase the chance of developing specific mental illnesses and is also a symptom of many others. Unfortunately, a 2013 Gallup poll of sleeping behavior in the United States confirms that about 40 percent of citizens receive less than six hours of sleep per day.
Insomnia is another menace to contend with when trying to manage one’s health, but there are some unexplored pathways to achieving a rejuvenating rest by:
- Exercising during the day to remove excess energy that could keep one awake at night.
- Limiting alcohol consumption and caffeine consumption before 2 p.m. will prevent any external disturbances to an individual’s sleep cycle.
- Avoiding digital screens; doing so has also been linked to better sleep, as the projected light suppresses the body’s release of melatonin, which aids the sleeping process.
Other health management strategies
There are multiple areas that people in recovery can improve upon in addition to regular exercise and sleep. For example, there are certain foods that if taken in moderation can aid the balancing of a person’s stress hormone, cortisol. Prime examples are dark chocolate and chewing gum, but if an individual is recovering from an eating disorder, these dietary recommendations should not apply.
In addition, it may be difficult to set-up and maintain a constant regimen that fits into an individual’s personal schedule. For these logistic obstacles, technology developers have created certain tools of their own that are designed to boost the adherence and commitment to various activities. For instance, a service called Nudgemail has become a popular method for those with busy lives to remind themselves of particular events or needed actions. This or free alternatives can be easily formatted to align with a desired sleeping or exercise schedule. Furthermore, some digital applications target particular activities, such as meditation and allow a user to follow a therapeutic session that previously required a teacher and a reserved space to accomplish.
Regardless of what beneficial behaviors you have trouble keeping up with, there is a collection of efficient tactics that can help fit these activities into your daily life. When these recommended plans of action are not enough, Sovereign Health of California is another resource that individuals can take advantage of. We offer comprehensive forms of treatment in the context of mental health, behavioral health and substance addiction. Also, our dual diagnosis program is also an option for those with coexisting conditions. If you or a loved one deals with serious anxiety or other mental impairments, please contact our helpline online or call (866) 819-0427.
Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer