The increased awareness of mental health issues has led people to look up for the root cause of them. Mental health disorders are something more than a mere statement of mind. Various external and internal factors contribute to keeping our mind happy and healthy.
The external factors majorly comprise of the people we are surrounded by and the air we breathe in. Therefore, air quality can affect our mental health to a greater extent. Just as people get ESA certification for their mental wellbeing, having pure and clean air can also aid in keeping your mental health intact. Here is how air quality can affect your mental health and what you must do to improve it:
The industrialization and technological advancements have played a major role in polluting the air and has endangered our physical and mental health. The harmful particles and air pollutants can enter our bloodstream through inhalation to the lungs and then can enter the brain. It can lead to harmful outcomes such as neuroinflammation, neurotoxicity, or hormonal dysregulation. Every breath that you take in the polluted air, gradually affect your mental health.
Change In Regular Activities
The bad air quality can change our lives drastically. It can lead to some major lifestyle changes, thus, affecting our mental and physical health simultaneously. Let’s take a very recent example to better understand this notion. For example, these days people are not getting out of their houses because they fear that they might fell prey to COVID-19 through inhalation. People are trying really hard to keep themselves from an airborne infection by wearing masks and stuff. This isolation is stopping them from breathing in fresh air or to go regular jogging and workout sessions as they used. Being locked down in the house is leading them to depression and anxiety. Therefore, if the air quality gets bad, people take extra measures to keep themselves safe which in turn puts them in a constant state of distress, thus, affecting their mental health to a greater extent.
Changing Sleep Patterns
Pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide are likely to create disturbance in a person’s sleeping pattern. This can also create issues like disordered breathing or nocturnal hypoxemia i.e. low oxygen in the blood, thus leading to restlessness. If these issues remain persistent, they increase the risk of other mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety, etc.
How Immediate can the impact of air pollution be On Your Mental HEalth?
Long-term exposure to polluted air is more likely to affect your mental health. However, if the pollutants are very harmful and the person is more likely to live in an area near a factory or busy road, then his/her mental and physical health can deteriorate faster. The impact of air pollution also varies with the age group. For example, children are more likely to fell prey to the harmful air pollutants as their immunity is not strong enough to bear the consequences. Secondly, people with the low socioeconomic background are the ones that are being affected by air pollution as they tend to live in houses near industrial areas or busy city roads because of their low cost.
What Should WE do?
The good news is, every individual can help to control air pollution by playing their part. A collective effort by masses can help us get back a fresh and clean air to breath in. We can boycott the companies that are majorly responsible for polluting the air. Avoid using vehicles that have a higher rate of emission of harmful gases. Above, all, plant more trees. We can all aid in the improvement of air quality by making some major lifestyle changes.
The Bottom Line
The air pollution might not show obvious or immediate effects, but it gradually aids in the deterioration of a person’s physical and mental health. Therefore, it is better to pay heed to make our environment cleaner and greener instead of regretting afterward. Clean air to breathe in is a fundamental human right, therefore, governments and world health organization must set up boundaries for the industrialized and other air-polluting countries so that this planet can remain a livable for us and for the generations to come.