Did you know that how often you use your cell phone could indicate your risk for depression? How about the fact that mindful meditation can actually change the way the brain reacts to stress? These are just some of the topics we covered this month in our ten mental health posts on Holistic Pain.
10 Mental Health Posts From April
We all know that our mental health and stress levels are related, but recent research is showing just how true that really is. In our mental health posts on the topic, we covered:
- Recent research from Tel Aviv University that shows that each person’s response to stress is entirely different, possibly leading to more specific treatments especially for those dealing with stress
- How stress actually does compromise our self-control, as modeled by researchers at the University of Zurich
- A new study that shows how mindful meditation can have a significant impact on a person’s stress, executive control, and relaxation
Just like we know stress can have a huge impact on our mental health, we are also learning how sleep can have a big impact on mental health (and chronic pain). Recent research has shown that up to 90% of adults with depression suffer from insomnia. Insomnia itself can also lead to depression–those who reported insomnia were four times as likely to develop depression. In addition, lack of sleep makes depression treatment much less successful.
In our mental health posts on sleep, we’ve discussed multiple ways to ensure you get a good night’s rest.
In our post on the topic, we noted that:
“Chronic pain and anxiety feed off each other, with one condition intensifying the other. People with anxiety are more likely to suffer from chronic pain, and those with chronic pain commonly suffer from some degree of anxiety.”
Check out our post to learn even more about these two related conditions, recent research on the topic, and how you can find help.
Passive aggression is a very difficult issue to handle, especially when dealing with a spouse, coworker, or other family member who lashes out in this way. Symptoms of this condition include:
- Sullenness or sulking
- Refusing to talk
- Making drastic changes in behavior
- Creating confusion around the issue
- Obstructing progress in the conversation
- Evading conversation
- Chronic lateness
- Playing the victim
- Withholding to send a message (e.g. usual chores like cooking, cleaning, etc.)
- Lack of intimacy (e.g. withholding sex or love)
- Lack of personal responsibility
If you know someone who acts in passive aggressive ways, read our post on the topic to learn ways to cope healthily with this behavior.
In our mental health posts, we discuss much of what each individual can do to improve their own mental health. However, sometimes a deeper look at access, preventive medicine options, and overall mental health system is needed before individual efforts can be fully realized. As we noted in our post on mental health system:
“At this point in time, the U.S. is not exactly a beacon of hope for mental illness. The state of our current mental health system is seriously challenged in the areas of access, equity, and quality of care. While many would try to fix the current mental health system with small changes, others believe that it requires a complete overhaul from top to bottom.”
Check out the post to learn more of the disturbing statistics and barriers to care, especially for rural and disadvantaged populations.
We followed up on that post with a focused look at mental health in the elderly, specifically. The same barriers to treatment and access occur for this population. As we noted:
“Currently, just over 20% of adults over the age of 65 have been diagnosed with a mental condition that requires treatment. This can include dementia, depression, and anxiety. In nursing home situations, over 50% of residents are identified as having some type of cognitive impairment that may exacerbate other health conditions.”
Even though the statistics are grim, there are ways elderly people can improve their own mental health, with just a few actions. In our post on the subject, we looked at three in particular that can seriously improve an elderly person’s mental health. These included:
- Considering pet ownership
- Picking up the phone and engaging in talk therapy
- Becoming the life of the party and maintaining a greater social life
Exercise is a huge boon when it comes to mental health, and the effects are almost immediate and often long-lasting.
The four major benefits of exercise on the brain include:
- Improves memory and overall brain function
- Boosts brain function
- Keeps the brain young
- Prevents mental disorders
Turns out more constant cell phone use can actually lead to greater levels of depression. As we noted:
“A study out of Michigan State University found that many who reach for the connection they imagine will happen via a cell phone actually end up more depressed than those with plenty of real-life interactions. For those who used their cell phones just to pass the time, mood disorders did not seem to be a problem. But looking for human connection, the other main use of a cell phone? Turns out, that handheld device is not enough to foster genuine, meaningful human connection that prevents depression.”
Find out how you can use your cell phone differently in order to reduce these risk factors.
Want even more mental health posts? This month, we also profiled the amazing Daisies and Bruises blog, a haven for finding like-minded content on dealing with depression. Check her out for more information on depression treatments, chronic pain and depression, and resources for depression patients.
What was your favorite post from the Holistic Pain blog this month?