4 Lifestyle Changes and Medication Therapy That May Improve Your Mental Health

by Lucy Casey, Content Marketing Manager, Valor Compounding Pharmacy

Approximately 50% of Americans are expected to be diagnosed with a mental health disorder at some point in their lifetime. Mental health was a top public health concern for the U.S. before the COVID pandemic. Now, discussions about mental health care and treatment are more prominent than ever.

In conjunction with medication therapy, lifestyle changes may be among the most stable and results-oriented methods of managing mental health conditions. Lifestyle changes are defined as altering long-term habits, typically focused on diet or physical activity, and maintaining the new behavior for months or years¹. The most responsive mental health conditions to lifestyle changes may include depression, mood and anxiety disorders, bipolar disorders, eating disorders, addiction, and body dysmorphic disorders. Read more about mental health and what symptoms may play a part in anxiety and depressive disorders.

Studies have shown that when lifestyle changes are enjoyable and self-sustaining, habit goals are more likely to be supported. Overall positive outlooks, enhancement of health and well-being are possible results of lifestyle changes*. Physical activity, nutrition, mindfulness, spending time in nature, and relaxation are all examples of lifestyle habits that are thought to be vital to mental health overall.

1. Move Your Body

30 minutes / 3-5 days per week. Exercise has been known, and well documented, to be an essential tool in everyone’s mood-boosting arsenal. Some kind of body movement, up to 30 minutes, three to five days a week, is recommended to improve mental well-being.

Aerobic exercise, including jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, gardening, and dancing, are the best examples of physical activities that will increase blood circulation to the brain, reducing reactivity to stress². Physical activity improves your mental health by reducing stress, improving your mood, boosting your self-esteem, and helps you obtain restful sleep. It has also been found to quiet down negative thoughts or self-talk tied to depression and anxiety disorders.

The number one mental health condition in the United States is depression. It is the most studied disorder and may be positively affected by physical activity, especially noted in studies that concern postpartum mothers, elderly, and adolescent patients. Studies also showed that exercise improved sleep increased serotonin metabolism, and supported the release of endorphins in conjunction with prescription medication therapy.

2. Nutrition & Supplements Count

1 min / 7 days per week. Did you know that what you eat can affect your mental health? It has been found that individuals who consume less junk food and avoid high sugar foods can sustain a healthier lifestyle. You can enhance your neurotransmitters by eating foods high in fatty acids, amino acids, and complex carbohydrates.

Supplements may be an essential addition to a diet that would improve mental health. Omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, are two key supplements that are essential to neural function. Valor Compounding Pharmacy has partnered with Designs for Health** and Metagenics*** as a source for supplemental nutrition options. It only takes one minute each day to take your supplements.

3. Stop the Clock: Mindfulness

5-10 minutes / 3-5 days per week. Meditation, or any effective form of mindfulness exercise, is found to improve mental well-being³. Traditionally in Buddhism, the goal of meditation is spiritual enlightenment, but today non-Buddhists practice meditation and deep breathing to focus the mind and relieve stress. Beyond meditation, deep breathing and yoga are two other forms or acts of mindfulness found to boost mental health.

The practice of mindfulness requires training and practice. It has been found that being more aware of thoughts, body sensations, and feelings is an excellent path to learning more about your own mental health. There are apps, websites, and YouTube videos that are all tools in learning the practice of calming the mind and learning to breathe deeply.

4. Medication and Mental Health

Several commercially available medications that your psychiatrist may prescribe for you to treat depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. As an alternative, Valor Compounding Pharmacy makes custom medication that is not commercially available in specific strengths or doses that may be a better fit for your needs. Valor also compounds low-dose ketamine USP troches. Low-dose ketamine USP troches are specially designed to be fast-acting and intended to help you manage depression and anxiety.

Valor works with your prescriber and many physicians in the mental health space, including several telehealth practices specializing in psychedelic medicine, such as My Ketamine Home.

With projections of increasing numbers of mental health disorders affecting so many people, it is essential to balance lifestyle changes with treatment options. Valor’s team of pharmacists is part of your healthcare team, working in collaboration with your doctor to achieve the best recommendation and custom solution made just for you.

Contact Us

Valor Compounding Pharmacy™, Inc. is a multi-state licensed 503A facility housing both sterile and non-sterile laboratories, located in Berkeley, CA. Valor is a specialized pharmacy that makes custom medications to meet the unique needs of the individual patient. Our goal is to reinvent pharmacy from a reactive vendor to a proactive partner in patient health care. We do that by optimizing turnaround time, being data-driven, and reducing patient anxiety.

Our focus is on non-sterile and sterile, hazardous and non-hazardous compounded medication. We work with a network of providers, patients, health systems/institutions, and research scientists in multiple states in the United States, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C., and Wyoming.

  1. Nature Research: Lifestyle Modification. Nature.com. https://www.nature.com/subjects/lifestyle-modification#:~:text=Definition,range%20of%20diseases%2C%20including%20obesity.
  2. Sharma, Ashish, et al. Exercise for Mental Health. National Center for Biotechnology Information. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/
  3. Mindfulness. Mental Health Foundation. Retrieved March 3, 2021, from https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/m/mindfulness
Walsh, Roger (2011, January 17). Lifestyle and Mental Health. APA.org. https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/amp-66-7-579.pdf
*Valor Compounding Pharmacy is not attempting to treat or diagnose any disorders or conditions listed on this page. Discuss treatment options with your prescriber in regards to any changes that you want to make in your health and wellness journey. These recommendations should be confirmed with your psychologist, psychiatrist, or a physician that specializes in treating patients psychiatric disorders, or primary care physician.
** Valor Compounding Pharmacy does not intend to diagnose or treat conditions based on the recommendation of Designs for Health supplements. Design for Health products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
*** Valor Compounding Pharmacy does not intend to diagnose or treat conditions based on the recommendation of Metagenics supplements. Metagenics products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.