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Scientifically Proven Ways to Boost Mental Health

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During lockdown as the result of COVID-19 in early 2019, mental health-related issues have taken a steep rise.

With the spread of COVID, which eventually resulted in the death of millions of people, mental health problems became a major roadblock in everyone’s lives.

This was something, which was beyond anyone’s control.

Introduction

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Without wasting any further time let’s dive into the topic,

“Scientifically Proven Ways to Boost Mental Health”.

Courtesy – YouTube

Methods to Boost Mental Health

Take Regular Breaks

If you are working for longer hours and struggling to get everything done, taking short but regular breaks throughout the day brings benefits – from less stress to improved Mental Health.

Studies have found that breaks can reduce or prevent stress, help maintain performance throughout the day and reduce the need for a long recovery.

Relaxing and social breaks have been found to be particularly beneficial.

A relaxing break can help to facilitate recovery by returning your mental and psychical functional systems to their baseline.

Social breaks, such as chatting with your peers, have also been found to be beneficial.

Social interactions allow you to share your experiences and feel part of a group.

During a social break, this feeling of relatedness shows a positive association with feeling recovered after the break.

Taking breaks is important in recovering from stress, which can, in turn, improve your performance.

Recovering from work stress can restore energy and mental resources and decrease fatigue, sleep disorders, and cardiovascular disease. 

Get Outside

In a study published by the Journal of Workplace Behavioural Health, workers were asked to head outside for 10 minutes “outdoor booster breaks” and focus on natural elements such as clouds, bird’s sounds, or the grass beneath their feet.

At the end of the four-week study, they felt significantly less stressed than those who took indoor breaks.

Nap Happy

Enhance memory and learning.scientific proven ways to boost mental health

Sleep is critical to your capacity to learn, and to your brain’s ability to process memory. 

Naps can help to root newly learned information in the brain and can improve memory recall.

One study found that a 60-90-minute nap can aid learning a full night of sleep.

Between the hours of 1 pm and 3 pm, we experience a small dip in core body temperature (a signal to the brain to release melatonin, the sleep hormone).

Taking a 10-minute nap around this time is ideal for working around this natural dip.

Research has found that a short power nap can help boost productivity, mood, alertness, and even improve memory recall.

And research shows that you can make yourself more alert, reduce stress, and improve cognitive functioning with a nap.

Mid-day sleep, or a ‘power nap‘, means more patience, less stress, better reaction time, increased learning, more efficiency, and better health.

Make Time for Prayer

Spending lots of time online puts you at risk of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI): Pain, tingling, and stiffness felt in muscles, nerves, and tendons.scientific proven ways to boost mental health

Try the following prayers stretch once or twice a day, as a preventive measure.

First, place your palms together at chest height in a prayer position.

Keeping your palm connected, slowly lower your hands until your arms reach a 90-degree position. Hold for 10 seconds.

Then hold each of the following positions for 10 seconds.

Tip your hand to the left; tip your hands to the right; move your hands outwards, so your fingers are pointing away from you; finally, place the backs of your hands together with your fingers pointed down.

Kawaii to go

Kawaii is a Japanese word that translates to “cuteness”.

Researchers from the University of Hiroshima found that viewing kawaii images – specifically cute kittens or puppies – had a fantastic effect on workers.

They not only felt happier, but they also performed tasks better than before viewing the images.

Japan’s ‘Yami kawaii‘ culture breaks down mental health barriers.

Eye patches and fake blood, bandaged limbs, and images of slashed wrists — a fashion trend is helping young people in Japan to communicate feelings that they would otherwise be unable to voice.

Writing Helps?

Writing is a way to put the suffering out. And you can do that, put the suffering out of you, like using the paper as a trash bin and keeping to purge it out in some part.scientific proven ways to boost mental health

Or it can be a way to put them out so you can process it and re-assimilate as something more digestible for the psych and understand it, have some grip over it and transform at least part of it into something useful!

This is the healthiest way to use writing or any art you create, but some people have this ability, and others don’t.

Being able to speak, write or understand symbolic characters like the alphabet is a cornerstone to a lot of complex identity processes, emotional processing, communication, creativity, and a lot of human brain complex capacities which people may get it by granted.

Still, when people don’t learn to speak and write at the due age, they may contact a lot handicapped in adulthood.

The ability to speak and write is responsible for us having a mental space that we use to process and think our emotions, so we can decide the best way to act or minimize or hold intense emotions without acting impulsively the time.

Give Green a Chance

In addition to improving air quality, interacting with potted plants can do wonders for your wellbeing.

A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that subjects who re-potted a houseplant felt soothed and stress-free.

Experts say that smelling or touching plants can produce similar de-stressing effects.

Courtesy – YouTube

Meditate

Research shows that mindfulness meditation can lower stress levels, improve your ability to cope with pressure, and boost concentration, memory, and creativity.

However, more companies, including Google and Apple, are advising employees to give on-the-job meditation a go.

To start, use a guided meditation app to help transport you from tense in seconds.

Courtesy – YouTube

Not Exercising When Stressed

Exercising when you are stressed can raise aggression levels. 

Contrary to widely held belief, the best way to get rid of anger or aggression is not to punch something or ‘vent’ it in some other way – by pushing yourself in the gym, say. 

It is much better to use some stress reduction techniques like meditation or yoga – even if it is just for 5 or 10 mins before you work out – so that workout can be about you and your body.

What should be the “Time Gap” between Exercise and Sleep?

Exercising too close to bedtime will disrupt your natural sleep, and sleep is an even more critical factor in good mental health than exercise. 

Try a different time of day – when you get up, say, or at lunchtime. 

We would aim to put at least 4 hours between finishing your workout and bedtime.

Cardio or Weight Training

It is a cardio exercise that delivers most mental health benefits; you don’t say what the routine’s makeup is, but try spending less time on the weights, and more time on the treadmill.

How can exercise boost Mental Health?

You already know that exercise is right for the body. 

However, did you know it can also boost your mood, improve sleep, and help deal with depression, anxiety, stress, and more? 

According to researchers at Stanford University, taking a short stroll could help you experience that eureka moment.

They found that a short walk helped boost creativity in participation by an average of 60 per cent.

What are the Mental Health Benefits of Exercise?

Exercise is not just about aerobic capacity and muscle size. 

Sure, exercise can improve physical health and physique, trim waistline, improve sex life, and even add years to your life. However, that is not what motivates most people to stay active.scientifically proven ways to boost mental health

People who exercise regularly tend to do so because it gives them an enormous sense of well-being. 

They feel more energetic throughout the day, sleep better at night, have sharper memories, and feel more relaxed and positive about themselves and their lives.

Furthermore, it is also powerful medicine for many common mental health challenges.

Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression, anxiety, and ADHD. 

It also relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts overall mood. 

Moreover, you do not have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits. 

Research indicates that modest amounts of exercise can make a real difference. 

Irrespective of age or fitness level, you can learn to use exercise as a powerful tool to deal with mental health problems, improve your energy and outlook, and get more out of life.

Exercise and Depression

Studies show that exercise can treat mild to moderate depression as effectively as antidepressant medication—but without the side-effects, of course. scientifically proven ways to boost mental health

As one example, a recent study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that running for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%. 

In addition to relieving depression symptoms, research also shows that maintaining an exercise schedule can prevent relapsing.

Exercise is a powerful depression fighter for several reasons. 

Most importantly, it promotes all kinds of brain changes, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being. 

It also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in the brain that energize spirits and make you feel good. 

Finally, exercise can also serve as a distraction, allowing you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.

Exercise and Anxiety

Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment. 

It relieves tension and stress, boosts physical and mental energy, and enhances well-being through endorphins release. scientifically proven ways to boost mental health

Anything that gets you moving can help but will get a more significant benefit if you pay attention instead of zoning out.

Try to notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example, the rhythm of breathing, or the wind’s feeling on the skin. 

By adding this mindfulness element—really focusing on the body and how it feels as you exercise—you will not only improve physical condition faster but may also be able to interrupt the flow of constant worries running through your head.

Exercise and Stress

You have ever noticed how the body feels when you’re under stress? 

Your muscles may be tense, especially in face, neck, and shoulders, leaving you with back or neck pain, or painful headaches. 

You may feel a tightness in the chest, a pounding pulse, or muscle cramps. 

You may also experience problems such as insomnia, heartburn, stomachache, diarrhoea, or frequent urination. 

The worry and discomfort of all these physical symptoms can, in turn, lead to even more stress, creating a vicious cycle between mind and body.

Exercising is an effective way to break this cycle. 

As well as releasing endorphins in the brain, physical activity helps to relax the muscles and relieve tension in the body. 

Since the body and mind are so closely linked, the body feels better so, too, will the mind.

Exercise and ADHD

scientifically proven ways to boost mental healthExercising regularly is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce the symptoms of ADHD and improve concentration, motivation, memory, and mood.

Physical activity immediately boosts the brain’s dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels—all of which affect focus and attention. 

In this way, exercise works in much the same way as ADHD medications such as Ritalin and Adderall.

Exercise and PTSD & Trauma

Evidence suggests that by focusing on the body and how it feels as you exercise, you can help the nervous system become “unstuck” and begin to move out of the immobilization stress response that characterizes PTSD or trauma. 

Instead of allowing the mind to wander, pay close attention to the physical sensations in joints and muscles, even your insides as your body moves. 

Exercises that involve cross movement and that engage both arms and legs—such as walking (especially in sand), running, swimming, weight training, or dancing—are some of your best choices.

Outdoor activities like hiking, sailing, mountain biking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and skiing (downhill and cross-country) have also been shown to reduce the symptoms of PTSD.

Even if you are not suffering from a mental health problem, regular physical activity can offer a welcome boost to mood, outlook, and mental well-being. 

Exercise can help provideSharper memory and thinking. The same endorphins make you feel better and help concentrate and feel mentally sharp for tasks at hand. Exercise also stimulates the growth of new brain cells and helps prevent age-related decline.

Higher Self-esteem. Regular activity is an investment in the mind, body, and soul. When it becomes a habit, it can foster a sense of self-worth and make you feel strong and powerful. You’ll feel better about your appearance and, by meeting even small exercise goals, you will feel a sense of achievement.

Better Sleep. Even short bursts of exercise in the morning or afternoon can help regulate your sleep patterns. If you prefer to exercise at night, relaxing exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching can help promote sleep.

More Energy. Increasing heart rate several times a week will give you more get-up-and-go. Start off with just a few minutes of exercise per day, and increase workout as you feel more energized.

Stronger Resilience. When faced with mental or emotional challenges in life, exercise can help you build resilience and cope healthily, instead of resorting to alcohol, drugs, or other negative behaviours that only make the symptoms worse. Regular exercise can also help boost the immune system and reduce the impact of stress.

Reaping the Mental Health Benefits of Exercise is Easier Than You Think.

You don’t need to devote hours out of a busy day to train at the gym, sweat buckets, or run mile after monotonous mile to reap all the physical and mental health benefits of exercise. 

Just 30-minutes of moderate exercise five times a week is enough.

Furthermore, even that can be broken down into two 15-minute or even three 10-minute exercise sessions if that is easier.

Even a Little Bit of Activity is Better than Nothing

If you don’t have time for 15 – 30 minutes of exercise, or if your body tells you to take a break after 5 or 10 minutes, for example, that’s okay, too. scientifically proven ways to boost mental health

Start with 5- or 10-minute sessions and slowly increase the time. 

The more you exercise, the more energy you will have, so eventually you will feel ready for a little more. 

The key is to commit to some moderate physical activity—however little—on most days. 

As exercising becomes a habit, you can slowly add extra minutes or try several types of activities.

If you keep at it, the benefits of exercise will begin to pay off.

You do not have to Suffer to Get Results.

Research shows that moderate levels of exercise are best for most people. Moderate means:

  1. That you breathe a little heavier than usual but are not out of breath. For example, you should chat with your walking partner, but not easily sing a song.
  2. That your body feels warmer as you move, but not overheated or very sweaty.

Getting Started with Exercise When You Have a Mental Health Issue.scientifically proven ways to boost mental health

Many of us find it hard enough to motivate ourselves to exercise at the best of times.

However, when you feel depressed, anxious, stressed or have another mental health problem, it can seem doubly tricky. 

This is especially true of depression and anxiety, which can leave you feeling trapped in a catch-22 situation. 

You know exercise will make you feel better, but depression has robbed of the energy and motivation you need to work out.

Or your social anxiety means you cannot bear the thought of being seen at an exercise class or running through the park.

 

Courtesy – YouTube

Make Exercise a Fun Part of Your Everyday Life

You don’t have to spend hours in a gym or force yourself into long, monotonous workouts to experience the many benefits of exercise. These tips can help you find activities you enjoy and start to feel better, look better, and get more out of life.

Courtesy – YouTube

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