Getting the best 'bang for your buck' from exercise

Exercise has long been found to have a positive effect upon mental health. This article [here] attempts to pinpoint the most helpful amount and types of exercise in this regard. It states that exercising around 30-60 minutes between three and five times a week is most helpful. Exercising for more than 23 times a month or for longer than 90 minute sessions is associated with poorer mental health outcomes. Within these limits, all forms of exercise are helpful but team sports, cycling, aerobics and going to the gym appear to be the best. 

Sugar and mental health

There has been a growing body of work on the role of our microbiome (the microorganisms in our gut). Many people consume sugar as a form of mood relief (comfort food). This article [here] makes a link between the gut and mental health and makes the point that those who consume a lot of sugar can experience greater fluctuations in mood. It suggests that limiting sugar consumption has a beneficial effect upon anxiety in particular. 

Sleep - A deep dive

Sleep is an important topic which is the focus of many other posts on this site. Joe Rogan is a very popular podcast host. In episode number 1109 [here] he interviews Matthew Walker who is a Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology. They discuss 'all things sleep' including why we sleep, what influences it, the effects of not getting enough of it and how we can improve our sleeping. (Be warned though, Joe is crude at times.) 

Financial anxiety

It has long been established that there are links between deprivation and poorer mental health. This article [here] details a tragic case where financial stress led to a suicide. It goes on to list indications that an individual is experiencing such stress and contains some links to organisations who may be able to offer support. 

Can psychedelic drugs help with depression?

This article [here] reports that a number of new medicines for depression (and anxiety) are being tested. These new treatments include drugs that have been available for a number of years, but have been previously used for other purposes. One such example is the illicit psychedelic drug LSD, which may remedy some of the negative changes to the brain that can occur in depression. Of course it is important not to take any such drugs unless under medical supervision. 

Disruption of body clock can result in mental health problems

We all have an internal body clock that can be disrupted through events such as mobile phone alerts that occur when we are due to go to sleep or during the night. These articles [here and here] report that individuals with disrupted body clocks are up to 10% more likely to experience a mood disorder. This has obvious implications for the benefit of regular sleep routines that suit our 'clocks' and also the avoiding of distractions in the bedroom.

Eat yourself happy

This article [here] reports a finding that those who tend to eat alone also tend to be less happy. It describes the meal table as being a 'place of conversation, storytelling and closeness'. The article goes on to describe the benefits of a good (real life) social network (as opposed to an online one). 

Postnatal depression

Having a baby is a massive life event that requires a huge adjustment. Some women develop symptoms of depression (and anxiety) following the birth. The article lists some tips which may be useful in helping new mothers to stay well. [here]. In England, increased resources are becoming available to help mothers in this situation [see here]. 


This article [here] describes this condition which is defined as 'not a single event but a process in which everyday stresses and anxieties gradually undermine one’s mental and physical health'. The signs and symptoms are listed as well as some example approaches to help overcome the issue. 

Depression and meditaton

A personal account is given here of the development and experience of depression (and anxiety). The sufferer did not respond to medication and unfortunately does not seem to have tried the recommended psychological treatment for her condition. However, the good news is that she has managed to improve her symptoms with meditation training via an app called 'headspace' [details here]. 

Social media and mental health: A mixed picture for children?

The possible negative effects of social media has often been described in the media [e.g., here]. Images on these platforms can make children feel anxious and inadequate. Also it is a vehicle for negative interactions, for instance online bullying. However, for children living in care, the social connections that these platforms offer can increase a sense of belonging and connectedness in a way that is likely to have a protective effect in terms of mental health for this vulnerable group [see here].