There are many habits to improve mental health. You will probably have heard of plenty. However, during this period of self-isolation, here at Altered Images we would like to remind you of a few of the many ways you can keep positive.
However, whether you are a regular gym-goer or not, self-isolating can make us feel quite restless from time to time. In fact, isolating yourself away from your normal routine, friends, family, and work life can actually have a negative impact on your mental health. Here at Altered Images gym in Bromsgrove, we are all about promoting the importance of mental health just as much as physical health. Moreso, we love to help others recognise that mental health and exercise really can go hand in hand. Before we learn some habits to improve mental health though, let’s take a look at how these negative emotions occur in the first place.
Stress – how does it work?
Stress is actually a useful function for us humans. Imagine being stalked by a predator. Your heart rate rapidly elevates, your senses and perception heighten, and blood flow increases to the muscles. These prioritises power, speed, and strength over all of your bodily functions. We call ‘fight or flight’. You are being given the best chance of survival by inducing acute stress. The stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline are being pumped around the body and peak physical performance is underway. Once you are safe , the acute stress subsides and the stress hormones settle down but only after a bout of intense exercise.
Why do we stress?
Chronic stress, can often lead to anxiety and depression. Chronic stress, a different beast to acute stress, is one of the biggest risk factors today for both your physical and mental health. Nearly a third of the UK’s population suffer from depression. Many more contend with anxiety and stress-related health problems. Therefore, there’s certainly cause to look deeper into how these problems can be prevented. As a highly developed country, many of our social and technological advances can also lead to stress-inducing scenarios. These constant worries and concerns, whether it is your job, your personal relationships, family bereavements or your finances, can often develop into chronic stress if not managed correctly.
Creating a happier headspace
If you are finding these troubled times getting the better of your headspace, it’s time to imbed some new activities into your routine.
1) Exercise – either intense 3 times a week or moderate/ easier exercise 5-6 times a week. Exercising is one of the best habits that you can take up to improve your mental health. Either go for a run/brisk walk an hour a day, or find some workouts that you can do in the comfort of your own home. Many fitness experts are producing work out videos online currently. If you have been attending our fitness classes of personal trainer sessions, you may also be able to incorporate some of these techniques into your fitness regime too. Exercising is fantastic for mental wellbeing – try completing your workout in the morning to get your day off to a good start!
2) Meditation – The more the better, from once a week to every day. By taking some time out to meditate, you can give your mind a rest. You can gain clarity on certain situations, look at things from a different perspective, and reduce any built-up stress.
3) Relationships with friends and family – Form and maintain personal relationships where you can talk, be heard and listen. This creates strong bonds – something we all need for our mental wellbeing. Not living with family and therefore isolated away from them? Be sure to call a family member at least once a day.
If you have found this blog helpful, then you may wish to read our previous blog on The Benefits of Running.