Stress and Mental Health

Stress often termed as something bad, is essential. It is the body’s natural way of responding to a threat or impending danger. It helps your body understand and protect you from perceived harm. In an emergency the body’s defenses help you stay focused and alert, boosting energy for a fight or flight response. The body releases stress hormones, adrenaline, and cortisol among others, and raises heartbeats and blood pressure.
The body doesn’t distinguish between emotional and physical threats and reacts similarly to both. In a demanding and complex world, we are under stress frequently leading to chronic stress. Chronic stress suppresses your immunity and impairs your digestive and reproductive systems. It also increases your risk of heart attack and stroke and affects your emotional and mental wellbeing.
Mental health is often an expression of how well we manage stress. Depression, a mental disorder that affects more than 300 million people worldwide, has become a serious health condition. A study revealed life stress is inversely related to physical and mental health. On the contrary, mindfulness was positively related to mental health. Mindfulness, or the mental state in which we focus our awareness and thoughts on the present moment instead of past, has shown to positively impact overall mental health. According to the study, individuals with higher levels of mindfulness were less likely to feel stress.
According to an article by The Mayo Clinic, Vitamin B-12 plays a key role in producing brain chemicals that affect mood and brain disorders. Although there hasn’t been a direct study of Vitamin B-12 supplementation and depression, studies concluded low levels of B-12 may be linked to depression.

Lim SY, et al. Nutritional factors affecting mental health. Clinical Nutrition Research. 2016;5:143.

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