We're teaming up with Safe Education, a Scandinavian company educating personal trainers and nutritionists. Their coaches have years of experience in exercise, nutrition and mental health. For the upcoming weeks, they will serve us as digital coaches, answering our questions on a certain topic!
This week we have the mental health expert Birgitta Törn with us, answering our questions regarding mental health and behaviour patterns.
How can I break a behavioural pattern?
Your motivation is essential – that you really WANT to break a behavioural pattern! Try to figure out what the behaviour you want to change stands for - what does it give you? What need is satisfied withthat behaviour? Understanding your behaviours increases the possibility of change. Mindfulness makes us more present and can help you during a process of behavioural change.
What are the common signs of mental illness?
It is common to experience negative emotions in life such as depression, anxiety and mental pain. Having those kinds of feelings does not mean that you have a mental illness. But if you are exposed to such emotions or severe stress and it clearly affects your function in everyday life, it is wise to seek professional help. Some of us suffer more than others from feelings of depression and anxiety, while others seem to have a certain strength and attitude to cope with stress in life in an easier way. The difference between us is due to hereditary factors as well as earlier experiences.
What are good mental exercises?
Here you have 3 different exercises of mental training that can help you increase your focus and well-being.
1. Relaxation exercises (reduces stress). There are many good apps to use.
2. Yoga/mindfulness (training your mind to be ”here & now”)
3. A Good day book - summarize your successes every day (can improve your self-esteem).
Why does physical activity affect the brain in a positive way?
Physical activity and training affect the brain in a positive way. For example, the levels of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin increase; three of the substances that regulate and reduce stress.
In recent years, the correlation between physical activity and mental health has received a lot of attention, for example through the physician and brain scientist Anders Hansen.
What benefits does exercise have on our mental health?
Several studies show that exercise can reduce depression. For people with mild or moderate depression, regular exercise has been shown to have the same effect (even better effect) than antidepressant medication.
Why? The production of endorphins in our brain gives us a sense of well-being. In addition, training can be a good way to break patterns of negative thoughts. And not to forget, it can be fun!
How do I stop eating sugar?
Most people appreciate the sweet taste of candy, soft drinks and cookies. With an overall good diet, it’s not dangerous to eat a small amount of sugar every now and then. My advice is to make active decisions about when to eat sweets and enjoy them!
For some of us, however, the urge of sweets can be very strong and for some almost impossible to stop.
What works for you? With an overall good diet, it’s not dangerous to eat a small amount of sugar every now and then. Maybe you can try to step down a little by little?
Your best advice to start working out?
Start by focusing on regularity and shaping a habit. If possible, hire a personal trainer that can give you the program, knowledge and support you need to reach your goals.
How long does it take to break a habit? Or create a new one?
Change can come faster than you think! If you repeat your new behaviour often and regularly - things can happen quickly!
Link your new habit to an existing one. For example, every time you brush your teeth – do your balance training. To avoid it, 100 % is usually hard to live up to.
Factors that affect mental health?
Factors that may affect your mental health include how you sleep, the balance between recovery and everyday demands, stress, the food you eat, the amount of physical activity, your genes and social relationships.
That's all about mental health and the end of this chapter together with SAFE Education. We hope this had a good impact on your life and have given you good tips to become something greater than you are today!