7 Trustworthy Tips on How to Stay Physically and Mentally Healthy 

Stress, worries, anxiety, and fear of the unknown are upsetting us all. Sure, some are more affected than others. That’s why we have to be mindful of the most vulnerable. Society must relinquish selfishness, especially in times where the fate of one impacts on many.

Nonetheless, it’s vital to protect ourselves in order to support others. You have to keep yourself healthy, both mentally and physically, to stay strong and help those in need. The following tips may seem obvious, but they are objectively the most important habits for a strong body and mind.

Where there is unity, there’s always victory.

Publilius Syrus

Eat healthy food

At the top of the list is nutrition. Plant-based diets are the best option for your brain, skin, cardiovascular system, and overall energy levels. Eating fresh will also boost your mood due to the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory proprieties.

Foods to eat

  • Leafy greens: spinach, kale
  • Nuts: almonds, cashews, and peanuts
  • Tropical fruits: avocados and mangos
  • Common fruits: apples and grapes
  • Forest fruits: berries
  • Beans, lentils, chickpeas
  • Hemp seeds, flaxseeds, and chia seeds
  • Complex carbs: potatoes, rice, and pasta
  • Grains and cereals

Foods to avoid

  • Trans fats, saturated fats, and partially hydrogenated oils
  • Foods with chemical preservatives, antibiotics, and hormones
  • Fried and salty foods
  • Sugary snacks, beverages, and candy
  • Refined carbs such as white flour or white rice

Keep dairy, meats, and fish to a minimum. And if you do eat animal products, try to cook them with steam or in the oven.

Drink enough water

The human body is composed of roughly 70% water, which is necessary for cellular functions. Drinking adequate quantities of water can help with:

  1. Headache relief caused by dehydration and fluid loss. Drinking enough water will lower blood pressure and get you rid of headaches.
  2. Metabolism and regularity improvement. A study indicated how reduced water intake leads to a lower internal body activity and constipation.
  3. Kidney disease prevention. Another review showed how a higher water intake prevents the formation of kidney stones.
  4. Joint pain reduction and higher flexibility. By absorbing more water, your joints will be more lubricated, and your muscles more flexible.
  5. Mood improvement. A ground-breaking review indicated that by consuming sufficient water, your brain functions and general disposition improve.

Exercise every day

It’s been demonstrated without a doubt that active people are healthier from every point of view. If you’re not a fan of sports, that’s OK, but you’ll have to keep fit. The main idea is to get your heart rate up for a few good minutes and stimulate the muscles. Put on some music, dance to the song for 15 minutes, and finish with some push-ups, crunches, and squats. Get your endorphins up, and you’ll see incredible changes, both physically and mentally.

Rest eight hours a day

Getting eight hours a day is incredibly important for physical and psychological health. Apart from bodily harm, sleep deprivation will weaken your mental sharpness, ability to handle stress, and emotional stability. A good night’s sleep is paramount but getting one depends on a few factors:

  • Eating habits. You shouldn’t eat heavy meals or sugary snacks before bed. Don’t go hungry, but keep it light.
  • Shiny lights. Lower the luminosity of your room and avoid bright screens an hour beforehand.
  • Stress and anger. Avoid getting emotional before bed. Relax, meditate, and do some breathing exercises.
  • Regular schedule. Set your biological clock by going to bed at regular times.

Avoid drugs and alcohol

This point might appear redundant. However, it’s essential to understand that using psychoactive substances isn’t a valid coping mechanism. Vices, in general, including smoking, will do more harm than good in the long term — briefly, drugs force-release “happiness” hormones. But after a while, the brain has to replenish the reserves by taking resources from other tissues, contributing to depression, emotional instability, and physical illnesses. Hard drugs can impair or even destroy the “happiness” receptors.

Coffee, although the least damaging, shouldn’t be overindulged. Caffeine, especially on an empty stomach, can destabilize your psychological well-being.

Keep in mind to use and not abuse. Everything in moderation, hold yourself accountable.

Socialize as much as possible

Keep your friends, family, and even your pets as close as you can. Hug them as much as possible, and if you don’t have that option, start a video conference and chat a little bit. Even the most introverted people need human contact. It’s a crucial part of our humanity, so don’t overlook the importance of socializing. 

Keep your mind occupied

This last piece of advice follows an old principle studied by French and German essay writers and philosophers such as Immanuel Kant. It’s called “distraction” in French, “zerstreutheit” in German, or “absent-mindedness” in English. Concisely, it refers to the fact that your worries go away the moment you focus on something you like. For example, concentrating on reading, writing, or anything that requires your full concentration will make you oblivious of the stress around you. So, take up something exciting and dedicate yourself to it.

Life is challenging, but it’s how we prepare ourselves to confront it that matters. Continually improving our knowledge is the foundation of adaptation. Learning to eat right, drink enough water, exercise every day, and getting enough rest is paramount for a strong body. Likewise, our minds have to be just as tough in avoiding vices, keeping our loved ones close, and finding personal meaning. Don’t be shy to ask for practical help when needed. Try to think in advance and anticipate the future. Even simple things like timely calling a taxi, ordering delivery food, or requesting medical care are good starting points. Stay strong, and remember that resilience is a learned skill.

9 Struggles Only Highly Sensitive People Will Understand

It’s as though all highly sensitive people speak a common language — and share many of the exact same struggles.

Are you someone who gets emotional easily? If so, it can be overwhelming, not to mention tiring. It can leave you wondering why you are more sensitive than they are — you’re so deeply affected by things when others seem to just shake them off. 

People often point out sensitivity in others as though it’s a weakness and there is something “wrong” with them. (It doesn’t help that society misunderstands sensitive people, too.) But, the truth is, nothing is “wrong” with highly sensitive people (HSPs).

I mean, everyone is sensitive to an extent — some people are just more so than others. Nearly 30 percent of people are born more sensitive than average, both physically and emotionally. (While about 40 percent of people are average in sensitivity, 20 percent are low in sensitivity.) Researchers refer to this trait as environmental sensitivity — also known as Sensory Processing Sensitivity. And don’t worry: All three levels of environmental sensitivity are considered normal and healthy.

Those who fall near the high end of the sensitivity continuum are called highly sensitive people. As a result, they share many characteristics in common, including: they are often deeply in tune with their physical environment; they easily pick up on (and absorb) others’ emotions; they often notice the “little things in life,” subtle details others may overlook; and they may be affected by textures, noises, and other environmental factors that non-HSPs may not even notice. Furthermore, they tend to be creative, empathetic, and deep thinkers. Some researchers also believe high sensitivity is linked to giftedness.

If you’re wondering how you “became” highly sensitive, you were likely born this way — and it continued to develop as you got older. You will remain sensitive for life — although you can always learn how to better manage overstimulation, regulate your many (powerful) emotions, and use your smart, sensitive mind to your advantage.

Of course, if you’re a highly sensitive person, you know there are both highs and lows that come with the trait. Here are nine struggles you may relate to as a highly sensitive person. 

9 Struggles Only Highly Sensitive People Understand

1. You’re very self-critical — you have high expectations and are hard on yourself.

As a sensitive soul, you tend to be very hard on yourself, setting high expectations and sometimes seemingly unattainable goals and standards. And, when you’re unable to meet those goals, you criticize yourself. 

In a way, you set yourself up for some real challenges while putting little emphasis on any success you have along the way. And, ultimately, your view of accomplishment — and way of doing things — leaves you feeling like a failure because you feel like you just aren’t good enough to accomplish anything. It’s a vicious cycle. 

Of course, the solution is letting go of perfectionism, but this is not easy for HSPs.

2. You fear rejection — you like opening up to others, but the vulnerability can scare you.

You have a tough time dealing with rejection, and your overstimulated (and perhaps anxious) nature only makes it harder. It pushes your feelings to another level. Of course, this comes into play regarding romantic relationships, too.

When you get involved with someone new, you want to open up — but the fear of being vulnerable can spark feelings of uneasiness and insecurity. As a result, you may find it difficult to fully trust the person (at least at the onset).

In general, highly sensitive people are more prone to relationship anxiety  — they’re afraid of rejection, and their feelings for someone can be so overwhelming, it can scare them.

HSPs can fear rejection in other areas of their life, as well. For example, it may prevent you from going after a promotion at your job or from starting that side hustle you’ve wanted to do for as long as you can remember. 

3. You take things personally and don’t like criticism (even if it’s well-intended).

While everyone sometimes thinks about things people say to them, sensitive people can hang onto the words longer than others. For example, let’s say a supervisor gives them unwarranted feedback on how they can improve on something at work. Even though the supervisor is just trying to help — they’re not yelling or upset — the HSP can take the input very personally. To them, it’s not simply feedback, but feels like criticism.  

Since highly sensitive people are already self-critical, they feel even worse when critiqued by others. It almost serves as a kind of confirmation for the self-doubt they may already have.

4. Your stress becomes physical pain, such as a headache or digestive issue.

When your highly sensitive soul is in overdrive — usually due to too much overstimulation and overwhelm — stress starts to eat away at you. And this can manifest physically in

the form of headaches, digestive problems, and other issues.  

It can all start with an isolated incident that causes you to be upset. Or it can happen over time, when an accumulation of stressors becomes too much. 

To combat this, you can try a grounding technique, like a breathing practice or meditation.

5. You have a surplus of emotions that can bubble over anytime.

Highly sensitive people have a very strong connection to their emotions, and even seemingly insignificant situations can shake them up. 

Of course, everyone has their moments and can become upset when something major happens. But sensitive folks are frequently affected by even the smallest things, from a touching TV commercial to a comment someone makes (to them or someone else).

Similarly, since they absorb others’ emotions as though they were their own, this could weigh on HSPs emotionally, too — it’s hard enough keeping their own emotions in check, but when you add other people’s? It’s an easy way for sensitive people to become emotionally flooded.

6. You are easily distracted by external stimuli — environmental factors are often triggers.

As I mentioned in the previous point, even the smallest things can become stressors for those who are sensitive, and this is also the case with stimuli since HSPs process things more deeply than others. 

Various environmental factors, such as loud sounds, bright lights, and smells, can be triggers and distractions. Thus, these stimuli can be a shock to your sensitive system. 

7. Group outings challenge you — you usually prefer deeper, one-on-one interactions.

As a highly sensitive person, you tend to be much better at one-on-one interactions. It’s just easier for you — they’re more focused and you can have deeper conversations and connections. 

When others join in, things can get a bit messy as you find yourself struggling to be heard in a group of people. For this reason, group outings usually leave you feeling exhausted and may cause you to have an “HSP hangover” the next day.

8. Driving or traveling can be stressful since they’re both full of unknowns.

Driving can be yet another daunting challenge for sensitive people. This means trips may take longer than they should because you opt for side streets rather than dealing with the stress of freeway traffic.

Traveling is hard for HSPs, too, as it’s often full of change and unknowns, which HSPs are not big fans of (especially if you’re traveling with other people). 

9. Social media often makes you unhappy — it’s a funnel of negative news and comparing yourself to others.

As a highly sensitive person, you already have a hard enough time living in the real world — but once you hit social media platforms, like Instagram or Facebook, it just goes further downhill. In a virtual world, everyone’s life seems perfect (“seems” being the key word!). So you may easily get sucked into comparing yourself with others. This is quite detrimental for your mental health, as it fuels thoughts of inadequacy. 

Plus, social media tends to be full of a lot of negativity, like violent-filled news stories which are tough on sensitive brains. (I suggest greatly limiting the time you spend on social media sites, especially before bed.)

What’s the Link Between Trauma and Dissociation?

Dissociation is one of the ways your brain protects you. It doesn’t want you to relive a traumatic experience, so it takes steps to conceal what happened.

Most people in life experience loss and heartbreak. However, not everyone understands what it means to experience trauma.

When you’ve lived through a traumatic experience, everything you once knew can be turned upside down. Trauma can shake you to the core and disconnect you from reality.

Trauma can make you doubt your worth and question your identity. It can also destroy your spiritual beliefs and faith in humanity.

This emotional and physical state of shock alerts the brain to leap into action. But if trauma-related dissociation is meant to help you, when does it become something that needs treatment?

What is dissociation?

Dissociation is an escape. It’s an involuntary detachment from reality, often experienced as a disconnect from your sense of self, thoughts, and memory.

Dissociation usually occurs due to trauma, such as:

  • abuse
  • sexual assault
  • a natural disaster
  • an accident
  • military combat

The link between trauma and dissociation

Trauma is, by definition, an overwhelming emotional response to a horrific event. Dissociation can be a critical part of your survival instinct during trauma. When a horrific event happens, your nervous system kicks in to protect you from mental and physical pain.

“Dissociation is part of the fight-or-flight response, which is an involuntary survival network that helps protect us from threats or danger,” says Sabina Mauro, PsyD, who specializes in treating patients living with trauma in Yardley, Pennsylvania.

“During traumatic experiences, the fight-or-flight is activated in order to protect the individual.” “If fight-or-flight is not a viable option or if fight-or-flight becomes inactive due to the body feeling overwhelmed, the freeze response is activated.”

According to Mauro, it’s during the “freeze response” that you can experience disconnect. Because there aren’t any other options available, you essentially sever contact between your brain and body in order to survive the experience. This is a similar survival response to a mouse “playing dead” when caught by a cat to increase its chances of getting out of there alive.

While dissociation is a helpful strategy at the time, it can also arise long after the trauma is over, causing problems in your daily life. Dissociation might occur when you encounter a situation or object that reminds your nervous system — consciously or subconsciously — of the trauma.

Trauma can actually change the structure and function of the brain, so it’s no wonder that we feel strong mental and physical sensations related to it.

When you dissociate, you may feel disconnected from yourself and from the world around you. You might feel like you are separate from your body, or you might feel like the world around you isn’t real.

Signs and symptoms that you are dissociating include:

  • feeling disconnected from your body, like an “out-of-body experience”
  • feeling separate from the world around you
  • feeling numb or experiencing emotional detachment
  • lacking a sense of identity, or a sense of who you are
  • forgetting certain events or personal information
  • feeling little physical pain
  • having clear, different identities, as in dissociative identity disorder

Importantly, everyone’s experience of dissociation is different. The key is to find out what it feels like for you so that you can notice it when it arises.

It’s often helpful to do this with a mental health professional. Parts of your brain “shut down” during dissociation, so it can be difficult to notice when it’s happening. A therapist can help you recognize the signs that you’re dissociating or that an episode is coming on, so that you can take steps to keep yourself safe.

Two forms of dissociation are:

  • Depersonalization. This feels as if you’re watching yourself as an actor in a movie. You may feel as though you’re having an out-of-body experience, floating around your actual body.
  • Derealization. This feels like the people and things around you are unreal — almost as if you’re in a dream. Sounds may be distorted, or the world may look “unnatural” in some way.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), approximately 75% of people experience an episode of depersonalization or derealization at least once in their lives, and only 2% experience chronic episodes linked to dissociative disorders.

While many people may experience dissociation, often related to past trauma, the symptoms don’t always meet the criteria for a mental health disorder.

Episodes of dissociation vary in length; they might last a few hours or days, or they could last much longer, into weeks or months. If you learned to dissociate from a young age, dissociation may be a common experience as an adult, and it might be the main way that you cope with stress. This may signal a dissociative disorder.

As dissociation is the body’s response to extreme stress, research from 2014 suggests it can be present, in some form, in almost all psychiatric disorders. This includes anxiety disorders, panic disorder, and depression.

Below, we look at some mental health conditions that commonly involve dissociation.

Dissociative disorders

If you’re experiencing chronic episodes of dissociation, you may meet the criteria of diagnosis for one of the three types of dissociative disorders:

  • Depersonalization/derealization disorder (DPDR). With DPDR you frequently feel as though you’re watching your actions and thoughts from an outside perspective.
  • Dissociative identity disorder (DID). If you have DID, you may feel as though you have different selves or that you don’t always have control over your different parts. You may wonder which persona inside you is the “real” you.
  • Dissociative amnesia. Dissociate amnesia often involves memory loss around a traumatic event. You may completely forget the trauma, or you may block out things that remind you of the trauma during a regular day. You might forget things like chores, work deadlines, or to pick your dog up from the vet.

If trauma-related dissociation is holding you back in your daily life, help is available. Treatment options exist for all forms of dissociative disorders.

Borderline personality disorder

Dissociation is often a component of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Many people with BPD have a history of early life trauma.

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and its newer counterpart complex PTSD, both commonly involve dissociation.

Since PTSD is a fear-based diagnosis, dissociation can occur during trauma-related triggers as a way to cope with the physical sensations that occurred at the time of the trauma.

Healing from trauma

When you’re living with trauma-related dissociation, you may not know how to start the healing process. The first step is to acknowledge and accept that dissociation is happening.

“Accepting and recognizing when we dissociate is the first step, but it can be challenging,” Privitera says. “Notice what you are feeling that you may be wanting to avoid, consciously and unconsciously.”

Trauma-focused therapy can be especially helpful. This means working with a therapist who understands trauma and the way it affects your body and mind. Therapy will help you develop coping skills that will aid you in exploring emotions and memories related to trauma while preventing retraumatization.

Various therapies can help you deal with the mental and physical effects of trauma, including:

  • psychodynamic therapy
  • cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), especially cognitive processing therapy
  • dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • support groups
  • somatic therapy

How to cope with dissociation

After you and your mental health professional decide on a treatment plan that suits your needs, there are additional strategies that may help you manage symptoms of dissociation.

Grounding techniques

Privitera says that when you notice you’re dissociating in the moment, you can then begin to
utilize grounding techniques.

Grounding involves connecting with your surroundings. You can do this by putting your hands under running water and noticing the sensations that arise, or touching a familiar object and describing its properties. Is it cold or warm? Smooth or rough?

“For most individuals, simply noticing your feet on the floor or your breath won’t be that helpful, regardless of what Instagram alleges,” she cautions. “I suggest to clients that they practice something less abstract and a bit more challenging.”

She recommends that, for some people, a mental-based approach can help. “Math is an excellent tool for coping with dissociation. Practice your times tables; start at 100 and count backward by 7s or 4s or 5s.”

She also suggests seeing how many countries you can name or finding four blue objects and two round objects in your current space.


Mindfulness is becoming a valuable resource for mental well-being.

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment. While there are many ways to train this ability, one straightforward method involves focusing on your breath coming in and going out.

“Mindfulness is a powerful tool that can be used to cope with dissociation,” Mauro notes. “In traumatized survivors, the body is unable to recognize that the trauma no longer exists. As such, the body is constantly in stress mode.”

Because the body isn’t capable of understanding time during dissociation (e.g., differentiating past from present), mindfulness can teach your body to be present in the moment.

By teaching your body to be present in the moment, the body recognizes the trauma is not currently happening, and it doesn’t need to be in ongoing survival mode.

Breathing routines

While mindfulness can keep you in the moment, breathing routines can help deescalate severe moments of dissociation that result in anxiety or stress. There are a variety of methods to try.

Mauro explains, “Deep breathing strategies can also teach the body to calm down the fight-or-flight response.”

She adds, by calming down your survival network, dissociation is less likely to occur as you’re able to learn to tolerate any physical sensations, negative emotions, and painful memories associated with the trauma.

Trauma-related dissociation may spare you some memories from past events, but it can severely impact your daily life.

Help exists in the form of treatments such as trauma-focused therapy and grounding techniques. You can start healing from trauma while developing skills to manage symptoms of dissociation.

Trauma is treatable and support is available. You can use the American Psychological Association’s Psychologist Locator to find a therapist who is familiar with trauma. You can also look up support groups near you.

If you’d like to learn more about how trauma affects the mind and body, including dissociation and dissociative disorders, the following books are a good place to start:

Remember, you’re never alone. Many other people have experienced trauma. They understand how trauma-related dissociation can take control over your life, and they are there to help.

Suicide prevention

If you’re considering self-harm or suicide, you’re not alone. Help is available right now:

Making Room for Hope When Living With PTSD

Fright. The panic that overwhelms you when you feel the soft brush of someone passing you.

Terror. The nagging little inkling in the back of your head that the people near you desire to destroy you.

Impulse. The scrambling to feel the rush of adrenaline you felt when someone violated you.

Anger. The outrage you feel as you blame, degrade and punish yourself for what someone did to you.

Trauma haunts you. It follows you like a ghost taunting you. It forces you to do the unthinkable. It corners you, immobilizing you with fear until your reality is so distorted that you sink to the floor and wail for the agony to end. As you struggle to escape the emotions trapping you in a room filled with dark thoughts, you watch slowly as your candle of hope burns away. Trauma whispers in your ear that there is no escaping.

That’s the lie. The dread in your heart is an illusion. You can gain freedom. It’s a miserable journey crammed with discomfort, loneliness and coming to terms with unsettling thoughts. The days drag by as you slowly crawl across the floor.

Even a little hope is still hope. Don’t let it burn out before you escape.

You are not what happened to you. You’re worth more. You deserve happiness. What happened to you was a crime, but you aren’t the criminal. Stop punishing yourself.

You don’t have to give others the ability to take advantage of you anymore. You don’t have to keep penalizing yourself because of what someone else did to you. You don’t have to be docile and make everyone happy. You have the right to be angry. Walk right up to your anger and embrace it. Be outraged at the person who violated you. Be infuriated at the people who stood silently by watching you retreat into your room of trauma. Feel the fury running through your veins.

Enjoy that rush of adrenaline. Let the power flush out the dark thoughts fastened to every wall of your mind. Dare to believe that you are phenomenal. You’re the survivor. Slowly peel those twisted self-perceptions off the walls. The bare walls might be startling, drab and leave you with an empty feeling in your gut. Breathe. That sensation will only last so long.

When you stop giving air to those notions in your head and let them die away you see the world in amazement. You see the world in rose-colored glasses. You start to see the beauty of the small things for the first time. You crave happiness, you stand fierce and allow no one to control you. You transform into someone who refuses to allow anyone to put a blemish on your joy.

It’s possible. You can rebuild your home. You can take a stroll down to the pier and hear the ocean breeze. You can put your toes in the water and feel a warm hand in yours. The world is yours to take. Peace can be yours if you just venture to thrive.

Will you dare to dream with me?