Frankly, I wouldn’t have spoken about this next topic had it not been for the experience I had yesterday walking into a psychiatric clinic for the very first time in my life.
I don’t want to go into the nitty-gritty details of why I sought help to begin with, but in general, I’ve struggled with bouts of depression, anxiety, and body image issues for the past 7 years living in Hong Kong.
Having lived in the Asian version of the “city that never sleeps” for so long, you start becoming desensitised to the constant moaning, groaning, and complaining people do about their life and jobs. I never thought things were this severe until I saw the queue of people at the psychiatrist office, all waiting eagerly for a consultation or to replenish their meds. There was a 2 hour wait just for me to get a 20 minute visit with the doctor.
Then it struck me, why are so many people in Hong Kong dealing with mental health issues?
I went into a bit of a rabbit hole trying to understand this phenomenon and figuring out whether there’s a better way to manage these issues.
First, let’s look at some findings.
In 2018, according to The Director of Health, Dr Constance Chan, three out of 100 adults in Hong Kong have depression. The risk also increases with age, reaching 4.7 per cent in adults aged 66 to 75. Source: Government of HK Special Administrative Region
But in my opinion, I think this statistic is severely under reported. Other studies revealed that it could be as much as 1 out of 6 adults in Hong Kong who suffer from some form of mental health disorder. Source: SCMP
And one of my most frightening discoveries was the result of a survey conducted by the Hong Kong Playground Association in 2018. 3,177 young people, ages six to 24, were asked questions about their mental health, sleep and exercise habits, and how much time they spent online. The findings showed that 31.6 per cent of participants suffered from mild to extremely severe stress, while 38.7 per cent had moderate to extreme anxiety. Approximately 7% of children ages 6-12 were found to have severe or extremely severe depression. Source: SCMP
Why has Hong Kong become such an anxiety-driven city where people have lost track of their pursuit to happiness but rather, become a culture of success and quick results??
Many people are killing themselves working long hours in severe air pollution, and increasingly expensive housing. There is a huge problem in the local school system and with such a highly competitive job market and high-achieving education system, no wonder we have so many unhappy people here in Hong Kong!
Anyways, I don’t want to dwell on this topic too much but rather, focus on how we can live a better, more fulfilled life that isn’t to do with money.
Ultimately, we need to experience life to its fullest.
And how can we do that? Well that’s something we’re all working on isn’t it?
I mean, that’s definitely something I’m trying to figure out at this moment!
But let's talk about how food can affect our moods...
As much as I love my little snacks, I know it’s important to nourish ourselves with foods that help boost happy hormones (serotonin levels).
So, What’s Serotonin?
Serotonin is a powerful chemical neurotransmitter and hormone that is produced in the brain. It is responsible for everything and all things positive - happiness, confidence, relaxation, quality sleep, etc.
What you put in your body can definitely impact your mood and serotonin levels and so I do what I can to feed myself with nutritious deliciousness. This includes foods high in Omega-3s, protein, Vitamin B and D, Magnesium, Folate, and Zinc.
Here’s a Simple Food Guide on How You Can Boost Serotonin!
If you are on this journey with me, I know that with the right mindset, supplemented with whole foods and exercise, and surrounded with people you love, anything is possible!
Hope you found this article helpful! xoxo