Film's Edge by Casey Flores
by Casey Flores
May 22nd, 2024

Five Mental Health Measures that Work for Me

What do Vincent Van Gogh, Edgar Allen Poe and in recent years Amanda Bynes have in common? All were some of the greatest artists of their generation and all had notorious struggles with mental health. For the sake of humility and humanization, I will lump myself into the same basket as basket cases. For me, the mental health struggle is real. With May being mental health month, I wanted to share what has helped me most, beyond regular sleep, community, and a healthy diet which are most important, in the everyday fight for mental health.*

1)    Fasting

While eating clean will help people think straight, not eating at all can do you one better. Giving myself a day—or several—to detox in this way works wonders for my mental health, mood, and clarity.

Here’s famous YouTuber, Dr. Eric Berg, with more on the topic:

2)    Om Mushroom Master Blend

Besides eating right (or not eating) and exercising, nothing has had such a noticeable impact on my cognitive function than Om’s Mushroom Master Blend powder. While there’s a lot of promising research in the realm of psychedelic mushrooms and mental health, this fungi mix won’t have you tripping. Instead, its blend of 10 different mushroom types plus ashwagandha have clinically proven benefits from better sleep to digestion to inflammation and attention span. It tastes close to cinnamon, and I blend it into my coffee or shake daily. I’ve even gotten coworkers using it now and they also sing its praises.

More information: https://ommushrooms.com/products/mushroom-master-blend 

 

3)    Cold Showers/Ice Baths

There’s something about cold plunges/showers that shock the system and bring about almost instant mental clarity. Rather than make my own case for it, here’s an excerpt from a study that had people shower in 20-degree water for 2-3 minutes once or twice a day:

“Exposure to cold is known to activate the sympathetic nervous system and increase the blood level of beta-endorphin and noradrenaline and to increase synaptic release of noradrenaline in the brain as well. Additionally, due to the high density of cold receptors in the skin, a cold shower is expected to send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from peripheral nerve endings to the brain, which could result in an anti-depressive effect.”

 

4)    Regular Sauna Sessions

I feel a lot better when I’m consistently hitting the sauna than when I don’t. My goal is to get in there above 170 degrees 4-7 times per week for 20 minutes—and not just because it feels good to sweat. The practice has immense mental health benefits on top of physical ones and this was found by studying the Finns, who sauna quite regularly. The 20-year study showed a significant decrease in the likelihood of Alzheimer’s and dementia in those who did so versus those who didn’t.

The study is cited here:

 

5)    Group Fitness Classes

Really, any kind of exercise will improve mental health—but group workouts are among the best for your brain. If you’re a former athlete and miss the camaraderie that comes with teamwork or just a lonely single person like myself, group high-intensity fitness classes can work wonders for mental health.

Personally, I do F45 classes but any group exercise such as a spin class, Orange Theory or a privately owned studio will do. Try it for a few weeks and see if you notice a difference.

There are many other ways to combat feeling down, but the above methods have yielded the most consistently positive results for me. What helps you? Leave a comment below.

 

*This blog is in no way meant to be medical advice, it’s simply what worked for the writer.

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