Portrait of young family with two children relaxing by their swimming pool having fun. Parents with kids sitting on the edge of pool on a sunny day.

As people grow older, their mental health diminishes, whether it is by genetic predisposition to certain illnesses or from the normal wear and tear of time. Fortunately, there are many scientifically proven and all-natural ways to elevate your mental health without risking any undesired side effects or damage to other parts of your body. If possible, involve your family when performing these five mental health exercises. Doing so will help you easily incorporate it into your normal routine.

Minimize Intake of Processed Foods

Canned or frozen meats drenched in preservatives, artificially sweetened desserts and beverages, and empty carbohydrates can be a treat to your taste buds but prolonged intake of these processed foods can harm your brain. Food, such as instant noodles, chips, and microwavable meals, are high in trans fat, salt, and sugar. This trifecta of bad ingredients lead to slower cognitive functioning including a decrease in memory retention and attention. It also leads to other health complications including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Purge your household of any foods or beverages that are high in these three things and swap them out for leaner and healthier meals and snacks including eggs, white meat, fruits, and vegetables.

Encourage Physical Activity

Physical health has a positive correlation with mental health. By boosting one, you also boost the other. In fact, according to David Linden, a professor of neuroscience at John Hopkins University, running causes your body to release endorphins, which is what experts say is responsible for the “runner’s high”. This rush of endorphins leads to an induced state of deep euphoria, which ultimately improves your mood. A better mood means lower stress levels and better overall health. Encourage your family to exercise by hiking, swimming, or running around the neighborhood.

Avoid Stress

Chronic stress has a detrimental impact on the brain’s prefrontal cortex, the section responsible for your ability to learn and store information. It can cause the prefrontal cortex to shrink while simultaneously enlarging your amygdala, which can make you more susceptible to stress. Using natural supplements, such as hemp-derived CBD softgels 900mg, have been shown to reduce stress levels without any unwanted side effects. These products also work for muscle pain and inflammatory conditions, both of which also cause stress. Consult your healthcare professional before introducing any supplementary products to your diet.

Strengthen Familial Relationships

Another scientific-backed claim is that people who share strong relationships with others tend to live healthier and happier lives. A stronger connection with your family members reduces your risk of depression and anxiety. Work on your relationship with your family members. If you already share strong connections with each other, branch out and find meaningful relationships with other people. Volunteer or enroll in workshops to meet like-minded individuals. Exposing yourself to new experiences and cultures stimulates the brain and keeps your neural pathways on its toes.

Adopt a Pet

Bringing home a pet is a great way to boost your immunity, lower stress levels in the household, encourage you to be more physically and socially active, and teach your children responsibility. According to the CDC, households with pets have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels than those without pets. That being said, choosing the right pet that’s compatible with your household is important otherwise these pros can quickly turn into cons. The wrong pet may cause allergies and a weaker immunity and heightened stress levels in the household.

Practice Deep Breathing

Deep breathing exercises are free, can be done anywhere, and have powerful effects on your mind and body. Of course, it’ll be a lot harder to sell it to your children who may not be as excited to sit down and stay in one place for long stretches of time to practice breathing. If that does prove to be the case, you may have to incorporate a reward system into the routine to get them on board. Deep breathing exercises clear your head of negative thoughts. It also relaxes your diaphragm and other abdominal muscles. This reduced tension improves blood flow throughout the body, which results in better circulation of oxygenated blood into your brain.

Mental health is a topic that few households really invest time and effort in tackling and improving. Luckily, it doesn’t require extreme measures or lifestyle modifications to effectively integrate mental health habits into your existing household routine. Start with the six aforementioned techniques above.