May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental health is interesting – it is kind of like the bridge between physical and emotional status. The brain itself is physical, but how we interpret our feelings and thoughts are emotional and behavioral. When something goes wrong in the brain, neurochemical imbalances, this physical status then compromises emotional status and behavior.

Unlike, say, a physical ailment with the heart or a broken bone, a mental health issue cannot be clearly seen via X-ray or ultrasound, and thus “cleanly” resolved. But throughout the past several decades, incredible strides have been made – and are still being made – to understand, identify and interpret correctly what any individual’s mental health issue or concern might be.

At Herbsea, we are committed to spreading the word about taking care of mental health as much as you would your physical health. And most important, there is absolutely nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about. Two of the most common mental health issues affecting Americans are anxiety and depressive disorders.

More than 21 million adults will have anxiety disorders in any given year. “Anxiety” is broken down into several specific types, such as social anxiety disorders, phobias, general anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress, among others.

Depression – or more accurately – a depressive disorder (like anxiety, a clinical diagnosis) also has several types. And we want to make a clear distinction for you between “depression” and “low mood.”

Depressive disorders, which affect approximately 7% of American adults, stem from faulty neurochemistry (brain chemistry). It comes from within (“endogenous”). Low mood – or situational sads/blues – stem from something out of the body (“exogenous”), meaning a stressful life event, or empathetic sadness (a best friend or co-worker losing a parent). Chronic stress can and does often impact mood and outlook. But this is not a depressive disorder. If you feel you fall into this camp, we encourage you to do several things:

  1. Review your diet and aim to eliminate junk foods, and those high in sugars and carbs.
  2. Fill nutritional voids with dietary supplements such as a multivitamin and FucoSea to provide optimum levels of nutrients your body needs, and which become depleted more easily through stress and situational sadness.
  3. If you feel the need to drink alcohol, refrain, or sip one glass of red wine only.
  4. Cut out sodas, energy drinks and fruit juices – replace hydration with glasses of water.
  5. An hour or so before bedtime, turn blue-screen devices off so you can begin to relax.
  6. Exercise daily – even if it’s a 20-minute brisk walk.
  7. Engage in deep breathing. Inhale as much as possible, hold it for about 20 seconds, then exhale slowly. Do this several times.
  8. Find a counselor or psychotherapist to work with. He or she is trained in helping you identify your stressors or deal with a situation, and teaching you your own personal tools to move beyond and ahead.

If you suspect you (or a loved one) are dealing with endogenously produced mental health issues, we encourage you to please visit www.mentalhealthamerica.net.

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