Understanding the causes of poor mental health is the key to improving your overall wellbeing. Most people put it down to stress and, in a lot of cases, they’re right. Stress has a huge impact on your mental health and if it is left unchecked, it soon leads to problems like anxiety and depression. But stress isn’t the only culprit.
It is still important that you find ways to manage stress, but if you make the mistake of pinning all of your mental health issues on one thing, you miss other problems that could be making things worse. In fact, there are factors that you may not realize are contributing to poor mental health.
If you’re socially isolated, it’s going to have a negative impact on your mental health. It’s been shown that being isolated from others can lead to feelings of loneliness which often leads to depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, when people are struggling with their mental health, they are more likely to withdraw from their friends and family, so the problem quickly compounds itself. That’s why it’s important to prioritize social time and when you are having a hard time, reach out to people instead of isolating yourself. So, make sure that you prioritize your well being and find time to spend time with friends and family.
A lot of people don’t realize the mental health impact of hearing issues. This one is related to social isolation because if you aren’t able to hear what’s going on around you, it can become hard to stay socially engaged. As a result, people with poor hearing start skipping social events and withdraw from their social circle until eventually, they are completely isolated. The good news is, hearing issues are easily dealt with and there are so many options for hearing aids, etc, so you can engage in social situations normally again. If you are concerned about your hearing, you should see an audiologist (learn more about how they can help) and get checked. It’s also a good idea to have regular hearing tests even if you don’t notice that much of a problem because, the earlier you catch hearing issues, the easier it is to deal with.
Eating Too Much Sugar
If you have a sweet tooth, your mental health is probably suffering. This one isn’t surprising because of the countless studies that link sugar to poor physical health, but did you know it can also affect mental health? There are two ways that eating too much sugar impacts your mental fitness:
1. Sugar causes insulin resistance and high levels of insulin have been shown to lead to depression in some people. If you suffer from regular mood swings, it may be due to high blood sugar.
2. Sugar causes inflammation which has been shown to impact negatively on brain function and neural connections. In other words, a poor diet is making it harder for your brain to communicate with itself effectively and this can cause problems like memory loss and mood disorders.
Sugar also causes a big energy spike before a crash. When you experience a sugar crash, feelings of depression and anxiety can be quite common. Eating sugar isn’t enough to cause depression on its own, but if you are eating a lot of it regularly, it can contribute to poor mental health in a big way.
Drinking Too Much Caffeine
Too much caffeine can impact mental health as well. Research has shown that large amounts of caffeine overstimulate the brain and this can lead to anxiety in some people. If you are already prone to feelings of anxiety, drinking a lot of coffee will make the symptoms worse. One or two cups shouldn’t cause any problems but if you are drinking caffeinated drinks all day long, it may be contributing to your anxiety.
Lack Of Sleep
Lack of sleep can cause problems with mental health. It’s important to get enough good quality sleep every night because the brain actually repairs itself when you are sleeping. Think of it like a computer restarting after you turn off your monitor – the same principle applies here. If your body doesn’t get enough time to rest and regenerate, your brain chemistry will start to change for the worse, leading to symptoms like depression, anxiety, etc. The bottom line is, make sure you get 7-8 hours of solid sleep each night if you want optimal cognitive function.
It’s true that stress is a big contributor to mental health issues and you need to find ways to deal with it. However, there are a lot of other factors at play too, so make sure you consider all bases when trying to improve your mental health.