An estimated 50% of all Americans are diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime, according to the CDC. KVCR's Benjamin Purper spoke with psychiatrist David Puder about some ways to protect your mental health in 2019.
David Puder is the director of the MEND partial and intensive outpatient program at the Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center.
Puder has four main tips for preventing mental health issues: eat healthy, exercise, have a positive attitude, and go to psychotherapy if you need it.
“Simple things like diet and exercise can go a long ways. Developing a strength training program and a cardio program can be very helpful.”
Puder recommends a program called Starting Strength, which helps people squat, deadlift, bench and press.
“So the studies right now really support strength training as the most important for preventing depression and cognitive decline. And the idea is, you want to stress the body out a certain amount, and then allow recovery and then adaptation to take place and then increase the stress just a little bit more.”
Then there’s the importance of a positive attitude. Puder says focusing on gratitude is one way to achieve that.
“It's important to focus on gratitude. Sometimes even just waking up and thinking about three things that you're grateful for. One thing that's right in front of you, one thing that's in the past, and one thing that's in the future is something that I practice.”
Lastly, Puder says psychotherapy is important for preventing and treating mental health issues.
“I think it can be a good working relationship and it can really help long term overcome some of the things that otherwise might be persistent, whether it be obsessive thoughts or depression or anxiety or trouble sleeping, falling asleep, staying asleep. Therapy can help a lot and there are different types of therapies and different therapy providers.”
You can hear more tips and analysis from Dr. Puder on his podcast, called the Psychiatry & Psychotherapy Podcast.