Brain Health after a Traumatic Injury

(Modified and Used with permission Dr Paul Looney)

  • If you want to optimise your mental health following a traumatic injury,
    the followingrecommendations may assist you.
  • Be patient with yourself.
  • Over time, small changes can produce big results

Aerobic Exercise

  • Research shows aerobic exercise to be effective in preventing & treating depression and anxiety disorders.
  • Exercise helps to reduce anger & irritability
  • You need at least 20 mins of cardiovascular exercise, three times per week
  • Exercise helps with maintaining your healthy weight, sleep, alertness & energy


Nutrition

  • Eating a well-balanced diet has a great benefit to mental health, as the body is designed to function best when its needs are met
  • It is important to feed your body regularly and maintain a healthy variety and balance to your diet.
  • Research shows breakfast to be a critical meal.
  • Avoid ‘empty calories’ or ‘junk food’ – highly processed foods high in sugar, white flour, fats, & excessive caffeine.
  • Drink plenty of water.


Supplements

  • Multi-vitamin – improves your overall health
  • B- complex – helps with energy, anxiety, depression
  • Fish oil – omega 3 fatty acids - is good for brain & heart health
  • Melatonin- natural sleep hormone


Keeping A Journal

  • Write down your thoughts, feelings, and patterns of behaviour.  Has been shown to boost your mental health
  • A person who journals has increased self-awareness & may be able to better release regret, frustrations & worries
  • Keeping a journal can positively integrate your negative experiences
  • Regularly making a gratitude list will improve your mood


Faith

  • Individuals with strong faith and spiritual discipline can enjoy more contentment and joy
  • Faith and peace can grow through participation in a spiritual community, by prayer, meditation, reading inspiration or religious texts and by being in nature


Creative Expression

  • Discovering what you really enjoy and incorporating it into your daily routine is of great benefit
  • Finding a way to express one’s self through a creative outlet has been found to enhance life satisfaction and helps to minimise symptoms & episodes of mood disorders
  • Drawing, painting, gardening, writing poetry or prose, playing a musical instrument, cooking and interior design are a few examples of creative endeavours
  • Utilising your gift will give you a sense of self-worth and satisfaction as you express yourself creatively
  • Appreciating beauty is important


Helping Others

  • Stress and burnout will paralyse and rob us of our self-worth. By helping another you will feel more valuable.
  • We may be tempted to withdraw from relationships just when we need to press in and build friendships
  • Send a card to someone, pick a flower, make a meal for another.  Focusing on another takes the pressure off yourself.
  • Have a mentor, be a mentor


Purpose

  • Having a sense of direction & purpose in life is very important in maintaining a healthy attitude, especially in times of adversity.
  • Writing your goals will help you overcome huge obstacles and achieve them
  • We tend to set short term goals too high and long-term goals too low


Rest & Retreat

  • A day of rest each week is vital to avoid burnout, & twice a week can be hugely restorative
  • Try and get away for a personal retreat twice a year for several days to renew and reconnect with your soul

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