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The way we live says a lot about us. Lifestyle means a
lot to us and is about more than how much fun you’re having or how much work
you’re getting done. It also has a profound effect on your mental health.
That’s why it’s smart to take a step back and examine
your own lifestyle. How is it helping your mental health? How it is hurting?
The consequences of a lifestyle that runs counter to your mental health
interests can be severe, so take action and build a better, healthier life.
Is your lifestyle
good for you?
Everyday, we make decisions (or follow through on
powerful habit loops) that affect our mental health, whether we realize it or
not. And, over time, these decisions can add up to a complete mental health
picture — for better or for worse. Let’s take a closer look at your lifestyle.
Mental health and physical health are much more closely connected than many of us realize, and a poor diet and lack of exercise can bring down your mood and make you more vulnerable to all kinds of common mental health conditions.
Consider stress. What about your environment — including
your home, your commute, and your work environment — might contribute to higher
stress levels? What about your work, your career, and your current work-life
balance (or lack thereof) might be raising your stress?
What about the place that you live in? Big cities with competitive work environments tend to lead to higher stress levels, so residents of places such as Washington, D.C., may want to be more proactive about their mental health than others, expert DC therapists point out — though they emphasize that virtually anyone can benefit from therapy.
Are you seeking treatment for any mental health issues?
Are you in therapy? You probably visit the doctor regularly for physical
checkups — do you do the same for your mind?
What a rough
lifestyle can do to your mind
All of the questions and concerns above are important
because, if you’re not careful, your wrong answers could lead to serious mental
Anxiety disorders are, when taken together, the most common form of mental health issues. They can be triggered and exacerbated by stress — the same sort of stress that is caused by your lack of work-life balance or your busy, competitive life in a big city like Washington, D.C.
Depression is common, too, and it can be worsened by the
low moods you’ll experience when you fail to get proper nutrition or exercise
And other, less common mental health issues can arise
from environmental factors — including basic, ongoing lifestyle decisions —
too. So get smart and change your life.
Building a better
The idea of changing your whole lifestyle to improve
your mental health can be overwhelming. But you don’t have to do all of this at
once, and reprogramming habit loops for the better will help you achieve
long-term, sustainable change.
Tackle bad habits first, and start fighting for the
little things that will improve your mental health, such as a vacation or a
rule against answering emails after hours. Leave a bit earlier to make your
big-city commute less stressful. Aim for sustainable changes — rather than
crash diets — and try adding vegetables in and swapping out a few unhealthy
favorites for healthier options. And, above all, get some professional help.
Your mental health is an important dimension of your overall health, and it
deserves the same professional care that you’d give your physical health.
According to World Health Organization, mental health is “a state
of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can
cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully,
and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” (1)
Keeping the balance
The old Latin phrase “mens sana in corpore sano” (“a healthy mind
in a healthy body”) emphasizes the importance of the physical exercise in
keeping the mental well-being. There are studies that show how a healthy eating
habit and regular exercise can help to maintain the balance of mental and
Regular and healthy meals, proper exercises, getting enough sleep,
finding a vocation, and a fulfilling relationship, seeing a movie, listening to
the music, reading a book, hanging out with friends, taking a trip, getting a
massage, or getting a hug, stroking a pet, having a hobby remain the basic
methods to cope with stress, but sometimes is not enough, or may seem hard to
In our world full with stressors of all kinds, school or work
responsibilities, unemployment, financial problems, family duties, family
troubles, divorce, the search for a partner, the break-ups, losing a loved one,
or a physical illness can prevent us from doing regular exercises, due to lack
of time, lack of motivation, lack of physical strength.
Signs you may need to
talk to a physician or a therapist
If you often find yourself not feeling in the mood to get out, or
you don’t want to be part of social activities, if your mood swings are
frequent, and the feelings of sadness, fear, worry are persistent, if you
experience memory loss and confusion, delusions, or hallucinations, these
might be signs of a mental condition. Other symptoms may include: eating or
sleeping disorders, a decrease of school or work performances, inability to
cope with daily activities, substance abuse, unexplained physical ailments,
defiance of authority, truancy, theft, or vandalism. (2)
Mental health therapists
The first step is to see your general practitioner, he or she
might give you a referral to a mental health therapist: a psychologist, a
clinical counselor, a psychoanalyst, or a psychiatrist.
The psychiatrists diagnose and treat condition like schizophrenia,
dementia, depression, anxiety, sleeping disorders, obsessive-compulsive
disorder, bipolar disorder. They prescribe medication, but do not offer
counseling, generally they work with a psychologist or a counselor.
The psychologists diagnose and treat conditions like relationship
problems, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, learning
difficulties. They are allowed to prescribe medication only in a few states,
but they usually work with a psychiatrist.
There are all kind of
counselors: marital and family therapists, career counselors, relationship
counselor, drama therapist, or speech therapist, or counselors who work with
social care to help people with disabilities.
If you have a mild mental condition, a counselor can help you to cope with it, offering guidance for you to explore your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. If you suffer from a mental disorder, you will be referred to a psychologist or to a psychiatrist. At BetterHelp you can find therapists from many states and with a wide range of specializations. Also you can find a lot of useful information about mental health.
Be careful, if you are in a crisis, if you want to hurt yourself
or to hurt other people, or someone else shows these symptoms, do not use the
internet, call 911 for urgent help.
telemedicine are considered synonymous. In both situations it’s about the
physical distance between the patient and the health care provider. Both uses
information and communication technologies to deliver and exchange medical
information (or any kind of data related to health) in order to achieve
diagnosis, treatment plan and prevention of disease and injuries. Telemedicine
includes also research and evaluation and continuing education of health care
providers. However, a refined definition regards telemedicine as a
service delivered by physicians only, while telehealth can be provided by
“health professionals in general, including nurses, pharmacists, and others.”
The way patients see
telemedicine or telehealth showed improvements since the beginning of this
In an early study from
2000, telemedicine was used to deliver specialist oncology/haematology care.
Patients were satisfied with their teleconsultations, but also expressed
concerns regarding the limitations of such a service. (2)
Another study, published
in 2004, has shown a better perception of telemedicine. According to the
authors: “Despite concerns regarding its confidentiality and its ability to
approximate the social stimulation of in-person nursing visits, patients in
these pilot trials seemed satisfied with home telecare and appeared ready to
accept its widespread use. “ (3)
Also, a study released
in 2011 concluded that “[…] brief use of a Web-based telemedicine
service has a significant positive effect on patients’ perceptions of this
service. Therefore, as patients do not have prior experience with innovative
telemedicine services, offering patients a risk-free way to explore and
experiment with the service can increase the development of accurate
perceptions and user needs.” (4)
A recent study,
published in 2018, used telehealth for type 2 diabetes management. The patients
were pleased by telehealth improved access to care. Lots of them said they
would prefer telehealth care rather than their regular appointments at the doctor’s
office. However, “they would not want it to fully replace their
contacts with their doctor, especially when it comes to discussing more serious
health issues.” (5)
A short history of telemedicine
It can be said that telemedicine
started in the early 20th century when electrocardiograph data were transmitted
over telephone wires. Then, in the 1960s telemedicine was used for military and
space technology sectors.
between specialists of a psychiatric institute and general practitioners of a
state mental hospital were made through television.
It is interesting to
mention that in 1925, Hugo Gernsback, a radio pioneer, published an article
about a device called the “teledactyl” (tele, far; dactyl finger, from the
Greek). That device would permit doctors to see their patients through a
viewscreen, and to touch them from miles away with robot arms. That article
predicted telemedicine, we can say. (6)
Nowadays telehealth has
reimbursement method is not very clear, the telehealth is reaching more
patients, some of them being willing to pay a fee for the teleconsultation.
However, 38 states plus
District of Columbia require private insurance companies to pay for telehealth.
Intended to be used in disadvantaged areas, like
poor or developing countries, with lack of medical care, telehealth has begun
to spread over the world, as the access to the internet and to the specialized
gadgets and devices becomes more affordable. The patient is able to measure
their blood sugar level, or their blood pressure and the data are transmitted
to the health care provider. Also, the video conferences allow the patient to
speak directly to the physician or to the counselor.
We already mentioned
diabetes type 2 home surveillance. There are also post-surgical follow-ups and
post-hospital discharges where telehealth is used to keep in touch with the
patients. Also, telehealth addresses chronic condition, especially in
seniors, for whom might be difficult to leave the home. Telemedicine can also
be used for a prescription renewal, or for treatment management.
People may use
telehealth for other reasons, like they do not have to pay for the
transportation to the doctor’s office, or they do not have time to wait.
Teleconsultations are scheduled and the patient gets a reminder to ensure he or
she will be online for the appointment.
Telehealth can be useful
for behavioral health, or mental health, because the patient feels in a secure environment talking to the
counselor from his own home. Be careful, though, if you are in a crisis, or
someone is in a crisis, or it’s an emergency, do not use telehealth. Seek for
immediate help by calling 911 in the U.S. or 112 in Europe. Every telehealth
provider should have a list of numbers to call when there is an emergency.
Lil’ Chris, who was found dead last week, had mental health issues and depression, his relatives said.
The 24-year-old singer, whose real name was Chris Hardman, was found in Lowestoft, Suffolk, on March 23.
A statement from his family said: “Chris had struggled with mental health issues and depression in recent years.
“He was committed to helping others find better ways of overcoming this illness and publicly said he wished to find a cure.”
Suffolk Police were called to a house on Union Road on Monday, March 23, to reports a man had died.
Fellow musicians and fans paid tribute on social media to Lil’ Chris, who rose to fame in Channel 4’s Rock School in 2006.
The statement said Lil’ Chris was a “huge personality who will be missed by everyone who knew him”.
“He was a hugely creative person who used this side of his personality to make others smile, to cheer people up and to make others feel better.
“A real people person, he would always take the time to stop and talk, no matter who or when and we are proud that he was so well thought of by all who knew him.
“So many commented on what a lovely, well brought up person he was, so polite and kind and a pleasure to know.”
The singer’s family said his funeral would be invitation-only and those attending would be asked to wear green, which was Lil’ Chris’ favorite color.