MAIL: The “5 and 5 Plan” to Tackle Mental Health

I’ve been feeling more anxious and depressed lately, and I’m not sure if it’s just a normal part of getting older. When should I seek help?

— Agnes

Hi Agnes,

Everyone feels a bit anxious or down sometimes. But if it’s been going on for a while and impacts your daily life, it’s definitely worth reaching out for some mental health support.

So, when should you consider seeking professional assistance?

When my patients ask about anxiety and depression I share five signs with them—these are good indicators that it might be time to talk to a professional about their mental health:

  • Symptoms are persistent, lasting for weeks or months.
  • Your mood significantly interferes with your work, relationships, or overall quality of life.
  • You have trouble finding joy or interest in activities you used to enjoy.
  • You’re experiencing physical symptoms like changes in appetite, sleep problems, or low energy.
  • You have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

I always remind my patients that they DON’T have to wait until things feel unbearable before seeking help. Early intervention can make a big difference in managing mental health symptoms and preventing them from getting worse.

Anxiety and depression are two sides of a coin—one can often cause another. The following are five changes that research shows can help with both:

  • Regular exercise: Physical activity can boost mood, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
  • Healthy diet: Eating a balanced diet rich in whole foods, fruits, veggies, and omega-3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish) can help support brain health and regulate mood.
  • Mindfulness and relaxation techniques: Deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help calm the mind and reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Quality sleep: Prioritizing quality sleep and aiming for seven to nine hours per night can significantly impact mood and emotional regulation.
  • Social support: Connecting with loved ones, friends, or a support group can provide a sense of belonging and help combat feelings of isolation and loneliness.

There are many great resources, from therapy and counseling to support groups and medication (if needed). Your primary care doctor is a great place to start. They can assess your symptoms and refer you to the right mental health professional.

The bottom line is this: prioritizing your mental health is VITAL, and there’s no reason to tough it out alone. Reaching out for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. You’ve got this!

P.S. Achieve better mental health by targeting the belly-brain bond.

Dr. Scott Olson, ND

Written By Dr. Scott Olson, ND

Nearly 25 years ago, failed mainstream medical treatments left Dr. Olson in constant pain – and his health in ruins. And that’s when he did something REVOLUTIONARY. He began his career in medicine – and dedicated his life to uncovering the true, underlying causes of disease.
Through his innovative medical practices in Tennessee and Colorado, Dr. Olson has helped cure countless seniors from across America of arthritis… heart disease… diabetes… and even cancer. All without risky prescription drugs or painful surgeries.

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