Unseen Factors That Affect Our Mental Health

April 16, 2023

Too often, we’re trapped in the cycle of being uncomfortable, sad, or anxious without knowing why–but mental health isn’t as simple as feeling bad for no reason. There are lots of factors we put by the wayside generally that actually affect us more than we realize, especially during those days when we can’t pinpoint what’s wrong. Here are some examples of common unseen factors and what we might do to mitigate them.

The weather. Is it raining, cloudy, or particularly cold? If you know that a certain type of weather affects you, plan ahead by carrying an umbrella or a jacket in advance. 

Food. Have you eaten yet? If yes, what? When you’re feeling particularly bad, try to lean towards healthy foods like fruit and nuts instead of reaching for whatever’s quickest. 

Productivity. If you haven’t accomplished anything in a while, your reward pathway hasn’t been activated. This doesn’t mean you need to go out and run a marathon, but do something small that you know you can finish, like a coloring page, a journal entry, or a puzzle.

What you’re wearing. While you’re probably not upset because your shoes are too tight, it’s common for our outfits or attire to affect our mood. Are you wearing dark colors? Is your closet full of t-shirts from your ex? Maybe it’s time for a wardrobe change.

Conversations you’ve had. Sometimes things we hear, or things that are said to us, stick with us longer than we realize, especially if it’s something that could be registered as an insult. If that’s the case, consider the comment or conversation you had and what can be done to work things out or get it out of your head.

Our brains are more sensitive than we think, and they’re affected by all sorts of different factors, especially ones we don’t notice. If you struggle with mental health, an important question to ask yourself might be: What things that you usually don’t notice might be affecting how you feel? Chances are there’s more than you think.

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