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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Science that Makes Sense for Fighting Mental Illness

I'm not anti-science but often I have a hard time seeing the sense in much that is called science these days. This morning however,I read an interesting article on Mental Health, which I think has some pretty good science behind it.

A UK government think tank called Foresight has looked into mental health issues and has come up with a list of five things people can do each day to help them stay sane and happy.

Steps to happiness

Connect
Developing relationships with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours will enrich your life and bring you support

Be active
Sports, hobbies such as gardening or dancing, or just a daily stroll will make you feel good and maintain mobility and fitness

Be curious
Noting the beauty of everyday moments as well as the unusual and reflecting on them helps you to appreciate what matters to you

Learn
Fixing a bike, learning an instrument, cooking – the challenge and satisfaction brings fun and confidence

Give
Helping friends and strangers links your happiness to a wider community and is very rewarding


Source: Foresight report as cited by Mark Henderson, Science Editor of The Times Online.
Article: "Do Five Simple Things a Day to Stay Sane"

The study also discovered that there is a strong link between mental health and debt. There is more mental illness reported among those of low income. After further study the think tank was able to conclude that it isn't income that is related to mental illnesses, rather it is debt! This is a very good reason to get the budget under control and work toward a sense of financial security! It will effect your sense of well being and your mental health. The recent foreclosure crisis I think will have to impact mental health in many many people. I know that it had an effect on us when were forced to sell our home several years ago. It has taken several years to fight back and regain a sense of self esteem for all of us in our family.

In looking at the list I found that I personally am already working on the 5 areas that this study pointed out! Nothing new in the findings, just good common sense ideas to help folks be happier and stronger mentally. I take this seriously because I am a person who is susceptible to depression and anxiety in a big way--because of that I think I've evolved my own way of fighting for my bearings emotionally and mentally in life.

Now I can see it in print however and realize that I am already doing my 'five a day' for mental health.

Besides the 5 things mentioned in the study and attaining financial security I would add a spiritual dimension. I think that all these things can be done better with an acknowledgement of God going right along with them.

For instance-- when I connect with the people in my life, walk or garden, observe nature, learn new things or find ways to bless others-- it is all done with an awareness of God's goodness and His hand in my life. The daily five and a frugal mindset too are all very much in line with my faith as a Christian. Prayer, Gratitude, Praise, And Worship and Scriptural Meditation or Study go hand in hand with all these things. I cannot imagine how difficult life would be if I felt I were facing it alone. That one thing there I think is what enables me personally to do all the rest.

Another thing I would add to this list is nutrition. A healthy diet is also good for mental health. I personally also take vitamins daily and whenever I start to feel my spirits 'dip' and depression begin to rear its ugly head I reach for beef. Somehow I find that the B vitamins in beef impact me more than quickly than vitamin B in pill form.

5 a day to keep your wits about you-- plus my own RX of God, financial security and good food. Science that makes perfect sense in Pokeberry.

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