Tuesday, January 23

Mood boosters

Are you depressed? Here are a few ways to cheer yourself up and clear your mind:.

Everyone experiences times when they are depressed, tired, or anxious. These phases eventually pass, but occasionally you can become emotionally and mentally mired in a rut. Here are some ways to help you get out of that situation when it occurs.

Get going.
Exercise increases the release of endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals released by the brain.

The British Journal of Sports Medicine recently published an online review of over 1,000 trials. The review revealed that individuals who regularly engaged in physical activity, such as walking, resistance training, Pilates, and yoga, experienced lower levels of anxiety and improved symptoms related to mild depression when compared to sedentary individuals.

According to additional research, aerobic exercise can have a significant impact on mood. Dr. Darshan Mehta, medical director of the Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital's Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine, says that any kind of exercise is beneficial. "Your exercise could be as simple as tending your garden or working on house projects," according to him. "The point is to get moving, and move often."

Spend time in nature.
Researchers have found that spending time in a natural setting can reduce neural activity in the prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain linked to negative emotions. Additionally, studies have shown that spending time in nature can reduce the stress hormone cortisol and blood pressure. As long as you find the environment relaxing, it doesn't matter what kind it is. Dr. Mehta says, "So, you sit in an urban green space or walk a nature trail." If you are unable to go outside, you can still experience a similar feeling by gazing at images of beautiful natural environments and playing natural sounds on your computer or smartphone.

Be grateful.
Writing down the things you have to be thankful for can help you feel less stressed and anxious. Start a journal to document these instances of thankfulness. Big-picture things like being able to work out every day and having a close-knit group of friends could be included in your entries, as well as happy moments like a cordial transaction at the grocery store. "Try to provide details about why you are thankful and how these items improve your outlook," according to Dr. Mehta. It's not necessary to write every day; in fact, some research suggests that writing even once a week can be beneficial.

Develop mental skills.
"Engaging in mentally stimulating activities like painting and other art forms, learning to play a musical instrument, or learning a language can be a great mood booster, as they provide a sense of accomplishment," according to Dr. Mehta.

Help others
Volunteering has many positive emotional effects. According to a study of 13,000 older adults that was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in August 2020, those who volunteered for at least two hours a week reported feeling happier and more upbeat than those who did not. "Volunteering can also boost self-esteem by providing a sense of purpose," according to Dr. Mehta.

Set aside time to practice meditation.
By concentrating on the here and now rather than dwelling on the past or future, meditation practice can help you lower your stress levels. Online guided meditations at www.bensonhenryinstitute.org/guided-relaxation-exercises can teach you the fundamentals.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.
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