There are numerous environmental factors that attribute to many anxiety disorders. Yet, it is not something we can resolve alone. As a community, we need to come together to develop common sense solutions, to improve mental well-being.
There are so many people that are suffering from mental illness, such as anxiety disorders, depression, and stress. So it is our responsibility to take preventive measures to maintain a healthy environment and protect each other. If we work as a team and implement various ways to eliminate harmful environmental factors, we can successfully improve our mental health.
Below are known to cause several types of anxiety and stress:
Physical Environmental Factors:
- Climate Change
- Natural Disasters
- Noise Pollution
- Carbon Monoxide
- Heavy Metals
- Chemical pollutants
Social, Psychological and Cultural Environmental Factors:
- Child Abuse
- Domestic Violence
- Social Isolation
- Negative Parental Rearing Practices
These environmental factors can adversely affect an individual’s mental and physical well-being, but with some preventive measures, we can improve our health.
How to Promote Mental Health by Reducing Negative Environmental Exposures?
Our exposure to some of these negative environmental factors can be reduced, by working as a community to clean up the environment and protect ourselves from these elements. There are many things that we can do to help. Here are a few:
- Minimize Tabaco Smoke:
- Stop smoking and encourage others to stop smoking.
- Support regulations that limit tobacco marketing.
- Support policies that limit smoking in public areas.
- Reduce Toxic Exposure to Media and Advertising:
- Take the TV out of your bedroom and out of the children’s rooms.
- Reduce TV watching time, can reduce anxiety and increase better moods.
- Household Cleaning Products:
- Avoid cleaning products that must be disposed of as hazardous waste.
- Avoid products with phosphates or petroleum-based ingredients.
- Avoid products containing ozone depleting chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons and chlorinated solvents.
- Reduce Air Pollution: Air Pollution can impair lung function, increase death and affects brain function.
- To reduce exposure to air pollution you can support public transportation.
- Walk or bike instead of driving your car.
- Install air filters.
- Reduce energy use by using coal, oil or natural gas.
- Heavy Metals: Can cause severe brain damage and exposure can lead to anxiety, lethargy, hyperactivity, depression and sleeping problems.
- Dispose of batteries, cellphones, and computers properly.
- Do not drink water delivered by lead pipes.
- Diets deficient in iron, calcium and zinc can increase absorption of lead. So make sure your diet has sufficient amounts of essential minerals and non-toxic elements.
Social, Psychological and Cultural Environmental Factors
Unhealthy social, psychological and cultural factors can cause anxiety, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other mental disorders. These disorders are influenced by discrimination, differences in education, income, poverty, unhealthy family situations, chronic disabilities and illnesses within the family.
Working together as a community and providing social support can decrease anxiety, depression and many other mental illnesses. You can improve mental wellness by building social networks that will reduce the risk of anxiety and stressful situations.
We must learn to support each other. When we have the support of friends, family and of our community we will create a better living environment for all.
For example, when you have children that have trouble focusing and managing their impulses; parents and teachers can provide support. Support from schools, a religious community can also be helpful, in protecting children, assisting those that are suffering from anxiety and depression.
Providing professional support through mental health workers, doctors, nurses, advocacy organizations, support groups, can provide a buffer against stress and anxiety.
Extending goodwill to all will help build a sense of connection with everyone. When you interact in a positive way with others you create unity within the community and a sense overall well-being.
Volunteering is another great way to develop friendships and is a proven strategy to promote mental health.
When we become active participants toward a mutual goal for improving mental health. We are also taking responsibility for the safety and future of our children. We are working together for a good cause that will improve our environment, as well as, reduce anxiety disorders, stress and depression.