Adopting a healthy lifestyle can preserve and improve mental health as well as
physical health. In the course of everyone’s life, events bring anxieties, fears, and
stresses. Managing stress requires the use of effective coping mechanisms. The
following strategies have been found to help cope with stress and improve mood
and self-image.

Avoid misusing drugs and alcohol
Drugs and alcohol may temporarily make you feel better, but they usually lead to
more problems and stress. At the 35-year point in the long-term Harvard Mastery
of Stress Study, it was found that neurosis and depression tended to follow misuse
of alcohol, rather than to cause it.

Eat a healthy diet
A meta-analysis of 41 studies found that a healthy diet, in particular, a traditional
Mediterranean diet that avoids processed meats and emphasizes fruit, vegetables,
whole grains, and nuts, is associated with a reduced risk of depression.31 The study
authors suggested that the reason for the association is because, “…a number of
factors have been proposed to cause diet-induced damage to the brain, including
oxidative stress, insulin resistance, inflammation, and changes in vascularization,
as all these factors can be modified by dietary intake and have been associated with
the occurrence of depression.”

The potential benefits of diet for depression are not yet fully understood, and the effects
are probably modest and not likely to be a sole way to prevent or treat depression.
Rather, adding lifestyle interventions addressing smoking cessation, physical
activity, and diet quality may supplement usual psychological and pharmacological
treatments. It is worth noting that dietary supplements are not helpful in the prevention
or treatment of major depressive disorders.

This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel.