Throughout the height of the coronavirus pandemic, regardless of age, gender or professional situation, the mental health and wellbeing of people throughout the United States and beyond has suffered considerably.
Now things are finally beginning to return to normal, it is the perfect time to turn your attention to your own mental health and this summer it is time to really look after number one!
Here are the best, simple changes for your mental health that you can instigate this summer.
Practicing sports or even being physically active in any capacity has been scientifically proven to help fight and combat negative emotions and low mood, principally because exercise releases endorphins, which are referred to as the ‘happy hormones’.
One of the fundamental benefits of exercise is that it plays a big part in reducing stress and anxiety and you feel good after a workout. Experiment with different kinds of outdoor and indoor workouts as the gym is certainly not for everyone, and even something as simple as a long walk through your local park or woods is incredibly nourishing for your mind, body and soul.
The Four ‘Happy Hormones’
Endorphins are one of four groups of hormones which fight negativity and increase the level of happiness and contentment in the brain, and the best way to increase your levels of endorphins is to exercise. Serotonin, the hormone which is generally lacking when a person is suffering from low mood and depression, can be naturally increased by exposure to natural sunlight. Dopamine is stimulated in your brain when you are actively striving towards a goal and when you are exercising with a clear target, such as a distance or time target. Oxytocin, which provides feelings of love and trust, can be increased by physical contact and interaction.
Make Future Plans and Set Targets
After spending the entirety of last year being confined at home, now is finally the time to start planning for a vacation. This does not need to be a bucket list style travelling trip, it can just be a couple of nights away on a staycation, as the goal here is valuable time away to rest and recuperate.
Health and Fitness
The importance of the direct link between physical health and mental wellbeing can never be underestimated and one of the most effective ways to lighten your mood is to take care of yourself physically, both aesthetically and internally.
One of the major lifestyle changes which you can relatively easily implement is to embark on a much healthier diet and exercise regime. Undertaking a medical weight loss program (whose focus is not purely the aim of losing weight) is significantly more effective than fad diets and unhealthy plans that magazines and other media tend to promote.
With psychotherapy, often nicknamed talk therapy, a licensed professional will talk you through previous traumas and your current emotions and feelings as a way of obtaining objectivity and subsequent clarification, with the ultimate aim of improving your general mood and life attitude.
The benefits of psychotherapy are numerous and plentiful, and ultimately therapy provides you with a safe place from which to delve into feelings and emotions that you usually keep hidden from yourself as well as your loved ones. Over time, one of the principal aims is to reduce and manage any destructive, counterproductive or downright negative thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and people seek therapy for a multitude of different reasons. If you are currently going through a difficult period in your life, psychotherapy will arm you with effective coping skills and strategies which should help you feel able to cope a little better and is often used by patients to gain confidence and strength in their daily activities.
Other prominent benefits of seeking professional therapy include helping to reduce the risk of harm to yourself and others, helping to reduce impulses and actions of self-harm or aggression and to learn effective coping skills to manage difficult and traumatic situations. Talking therapy is also proven to be a significant factor in coming to terms with trauma or distressing childhood memories from your past as your therapist will encourage you to pinpoint the exact triggers.
Start A Thoughts and Feelings Journal
When you are suffering through a period of prolonged low mood, it is likely that your energy levels are also at an all-time low and if you currently feel unable to pursue a physical program of wellness, there are other ways to actively improve your overall mood.
Starting a thoughts and feelings journal and logging how you feel each day enables you to start to question what triggers there may be that are causing your negative emotions, and objectivity is an effective tool for change.