Unexpected Signs That Your Mental Health Hygiene Needs Improvement
It's widely believed that mental health issues are only identifiable through clear symptoms like depression, anxiety, mood swings, and social disconnection. However, mental health issues can also manifest themselves in ways that are not immediately apparent. It's important to note that our thoughts directly affect the signals sent to our bodies in preparation for action. For example: If you see food, your eyes will send a signal to the brain to then send another signal to the nervous system, connecting to the digestive system, asking itself if it is hungry. If so, you will start salivating, digestive juices will start secreting, and it will prepare itself to ingest the food in front of you. All of these processes depend on minerals, believe it or not. Our nervous system is regulated by calcium and phosphorus, stomach acidity to break down food is made up of a mix of sodium and zinc, pancreatic enzymes depend on things like calcium, magnesium and zinc- there is a domino’s effect.
The point of this example was to express that in situations where someone is stressed, anxious, depressed, or even in a manic episode, it sends different signals to the body, which can then fire different minerals to synergize different enzymatic reactions, which can then produce specific hormones and so forth. The cascade occurs. That being said, minerals can also influence how well we are capable of handling a stressor or how we react to certain situations that can impede on our mental health. For instance, magnesium can help with anxiety, so if someone is naturally anxious, taking some extra magnesium could be considered useful to someone.
Mental health hygiene is just as important as physical hygiene. Poor mental hygiene can manifest itself in many ways, from hair loss to bloating to low sex drive. If you have any of these unexpected signs, it may be time to pay attention to your mental health.
Hair loss is one of the most common signs that your mental health needs attention. Stress can cause hair to thin or even fall out, so if you're experiencing hair loss, it's a good idea to take a look at your mental health and make sure it's in check.
We often associate hair loss with genetics, aging, pregnancy, or certain medical conditions. However, what many people do not realize is that hair loss can also be a symptom of poor mental health hygiene. When our mental health is struggling, it can have a significant impact on our physical well-being, including our hair. We’ve all heard of the saying “I’m losing my hair due to stress” and that’s because it’s true, it’s not just something our parents told us to scare us. The reason this occurs is because when we are under stress, whether we’re sad, anxious or upset for a chronic length of time, the body eventually begins to think that it’s in a dangerous situation and it may have to start preserving energy. Our bodies don’t know the difference between relationship issues and not having enough food- stress is stress. As a result, the mechanism of trying to conserve energy takes away from our ability to maintain or continue to grow hair because hair is not essential for survival (unlike keeping your heart beating, brain working or energy levels up to keep you functioning). Hair growth requires 4 main pillars: energy, circulation, proper nutrition and light. In a stressful state, the body will slow its metabolic rate to preserve calories burned so it can save it in cases of a famine, which will directly affect our circulatory system because that requires energy, and also affect our ability to synthesize and absorb nutrients from food impeding on the nutrition pillar.
In the case of hair loss, there isn’t a specific mineral per say that would help, so running an Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) to help rebalance the metabolism would be recommended for more specifically catered suggestions.
Bloating is a common physical symptom, but did you know that it can also indicate an issue with your mental health hygiene? Your gut is often referred to as your second brain, and research has shown a strong connection between the gut and mental health. When you experience stress or anxiety, your body releases hormones that can disrupt the balance of bacteria in your gut, leading to bloating and other digestive issues.
Our digestive system starts beyond the digestive tract. It actually starts with our 5 senses: sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. Granted, you can’t necessarily hear food, but you can hear it being prepared. All of these senses help signal to the body to prepare itself for when food is coming because we need digestive enzymes to be secreted in the mouth, stomach, and get into a parasympathetic state to properly assimilate food. In times of stress, the body may be too preoccupied to have its senses alert enough to food. It might be too focused on the stressful situation at hand, hence won’t signal to the body to get ready to start digesting things. In addition, motility slows itself down as well, thus transit time for food typically gets backed up because, as mentioned, the metabolic rate lowers because the body is purposely preserving energy for more important functions.
In the case of bloating, many people also start secreting lower stomach acidity and lower their capacity to produce digestive enzymes. Minerals to consider in this case are sodium, zinc, magnesium, calcium and cobalt, all of which can be supportive to these functions.
Low Sex Drive
Low sex drive can be a sign that your mental health hygiene is suffering. Stress and anxiety can lower your libido, as this is usually to the response the body has to protect itself from procreating in an environment it feels it can’t bring life in. When we are struggling with our mental health, it is a stress on the body, and this can downregulate our adrenal hormones, thyroid hormones, all in which can affect our gonads. To have a sex drive we typically need a robust metabolism and adequate energy to make our steroid hormones such as estrogen and testosterone which are responsible for that elevated libido. On an HTMA, low copper or zinc levels can correlate to lower levels of steroid hormones, but imbalances of our sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium levels can impede on other parts of the endocrine system.
Insomnia is another sign that your mental hygiene needs improvement. Stress can cause difficulty in falling asleep and staying asleep, resulting in poor sleep quality. Insomnia, a sleeping disorder characterized by difficulty falling and staying asleep, can be caused by a wide variety of factors – stress, anxiety, depression, medication, and more. It affects our physical, emotional, and mental health, causing fatigue, irritability, poor concentration, and decreased productivity. Without proper intervention, insomnia can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. Identifying the root cause of insomnia is crucial in addressing the underlying mental health issues.
Our bodies are at our most vulnerable states when we are asleep, meaning in order to doze off, the body needs to feel calm and safe. Typically, this could be a sign of certain deficiencies or imbalances in some minerals like sodium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, calcium or phosphorus- all in which you can check via an HTMA.
Inability to gain weight or lose weight
If you're having trouble gaining or losing weight, it may be a sign that your mental health hygiene needs attention. Stress can affect your appetite and metabolism, making it difficult to reach your health goals. If you're having trouble reaching your weight goals, take a look at your mental health and make the necessary changes.
Unexpected changes in body weight can be a sign that your mental health hygiene needs improvement. Struggling to gain weight or finding it difficult to lose weight may indicate that there is an underlying issue affecting your emotional and mental well-being. Some people react to stress by needing to eat more because it’s comforting, or maybe their stress is dysregulating their blood sugar, or it is technically causing them to burn more energy at first which leads them to eating more. However, these patterns can stick and eventually accumulate into weight gain down the line. Conversely, some people lose their appetite when struggling with their mental health, and begin to isolate themselves, steering them away from settings related to food. These signs of mental health struggles could be related to mineral imbalances such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, chromium or lithium.
If you’re looking to check your minerals to see if this could support you during your mental health journey or discover if your current symptoms are mental health related, click the link here to order your HTMA today!