“There is no health without mental health.” World Health Organization
Everyone has mental health. Just like we all have physical health. In the course of a lifetime, not all people will experience a mental illness, but everyone will struggle or have a challenge with their mental well-being, just like we all have challenges with our physical well-being from time to time.
Mental health is but one dimension – or marker – of overall health. This marker defines our mental well-being at any juncture in our lives: our emotions, thoughts and feelings, ability to solve problems and overcome difficulties, and our understanding and interpretation of the world around us. Mental health is fluid, ebbing and flowing with the events in our lives. It’s about knowing what makes you happy and strong, and how to use coping skills to resolve life’s daily tasks and trials.
And sometimes it’s about drawing on humour to move through and past the more challenging moments. Sharing a good talk, a hug and a giggle with a friend can be a great way to find your footing again.
Importantly, good mental health is not at all about being problem-free and happy-go-lucky all the time. This is not a realistic picture of what constitutes everyday life. Good mental health simply means that you’re living and coping well – to the best of your ability – despite your problems.
A little mood-boosting sustenance
You can support your mental health in a myriad of ways: through daily movement, meetups with friends, drinking plenty of water, carving out quiet time for reading and reflection, yoga and stretching, deep breathing, meditation, and as always, by eating healing, nutritious foods.
Here are 5 happy brain foods to support and give your mental health a lift – try to incorporate them into your diet regularly:
- Wild salmon – offers a hefty serving of omega-3 fatty acids to support the production of our feel-good chemicals, dopamine and serotonin. Go Fish!
- Walnuts – are the top nut for brain health! These brain-shaped gems deliver the plant version of omega-3’s and are touted for their ability to enhance mood and cognition.
- Leafy greens – present a plethora of brain-boosting nutrients! There is suggestive evidence that daily rotations of raw and lightly-cooked greens can slow age-related cognitive decline.
- Berries – are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients that boost brain function and may prevent age-related memory loss. Try blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries on for size!
- Avocado – is a revered superfood (the ‘supercado’) containing monounsaturated fats that contribute to healthy blood flow. Healthy blood flow means healthy brain!
Bell Let’s Talk Day – January 29th
Have you heard about Bell Let’s Talk? In 2010, Bell launched a radical initiative to open the door to conversation about mental health – and more specifically, to talk about mental illness and the societal stigma that surrounds it.
Bell Let’s Talk is a strategy devoted to moving mental health initiatives forward and is built on 4 key pillars: anti-stigma, care and access, research and workplace health. And Bell Let’s Talk Day is an annual ‘day’ in Canada devoted to overcoming the stigma attached to mental illness by promoting awareness and understanding.
Bell Let’s Talk Day makes it easy for us to contribute to mental health initiatives in Canada through several avenues – texting, calling and various social medium platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. For every applicable text, call, tweet, social media video view and use of Bell’s Facebook frame or Snapchat filter, Bell will donate 5 cents to the cause!
Every interaction on Bell Let’s Talk Day counts! On January 30th, check out your options here: https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/bell-lets-talk-day
Julia Denker has a passion for wellness, educational background in psychology and nutrition, and administrative leadership experience. She knows that we can all live and work smarter by making small but impactful lifestyle changes, including rethinking our food choices. Understanding bio-chemical individuality is key, and she guides clients on cueing into their bodies to craft a nourishment plan that works.