Many of us will make sure our physical health is taken care of by following a healthy diet and booking an appointment to see our doctor when we aren’t feeling well, but pay less attention when it comes to our mental health. But our overall wellness includes tending to our mental well-being on top of whether we’re getting enough vegetables in our diet and moving enough every day. Incorporate more of the following activities and habits into your lifestyle to tend to to your mood.
All of those meditation studios popping up in your city? Pop in or start your own practice at home to give your mental health some attention. Incorporating more mindfulness into your routine through a meditation practice has been shown to boost mood. In a study conducted over a seven-week period, people practiced loving kindness meditation (a type of practice meant to boost feelings of warmth and care for others). The findings said regular practice brought about more positive emotions. This lift in emotions in turn brought about other changes (such as less illness and greater social support), which upped life satisfaction and decreased depression.
Get your sweat on
We’ve all heard that exercise can help boost mood thanks to that increase in endorphins (aka runner’s high). And while training for a marathon or indulging in your Crossfit obsession can be good for your physical health, it turns out that even small amounts of fitness can boost your happiness. A recent study found that people who exercise as little as 10 minutes a day or even just once a week are more cheerful than those who don’t. The research, which was published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, found that it also didn’t matter what type of exercise you did; so pick what you enjoy most, and find just a little time in your schedule for it, if that’s all you have, for a simple way to turn that frown upside down.
Work with a therapist
Cognitive behavioural therapy is a proven effective psychological therapy and worth looking into if you have health insurance. If you don’t have health benefits, a more budget-friendly option to explore is web therapy through services like Talk Space or Beacon, digital experiences in which you access your therapy from your web-enabled device and are guided by a therapist. “Beacon provides cognitive behavioural therapy, which is a well-studied and effective psychological therapy, through an entirely digital experience that’s guided by a therapist. This makes it much more affordable than in-person therapy, and many employers and benefits plans are able to cover most or all of the cost. You can do it in your own time—while on the bus, for example, or after you’ve put the kids to bed. And it’s available across Canada, even from regions where not a lot of qualified therapists practice,” says Dr. Khush Amaria, clinical director of MindBeacon Group. “We find that people with mild to moderate concerns are far more able to get the help they need before their concerns worsen to severe or crisis levels.”
Look at nature
Getting outside or even just looking at a vase of flowers or even just images of Mother Nature can help boost your happiness. That’s right; you don’t have to plan a big hike to get a dose of forest bathing. Merely upping your view of nature — even if just for a few moments and even just photos of it — can lift your mood, according to a study conducted at the University of British Columbia published in the Journal of Positive Psychology.