“More people in the U.S. are on anti-depressants than those who go to the movies.“
Firstly, that statistic is just plain shocking. It’s disturbing that is the amount of people who need help through their day to day. Here are 10 habits you can add today to make your life better. These are a few steps to adopt or recommend to others. If you know anyone, love anyone, or are anyone that struggles with feeling these symptoms share or try these few strategies just for a few weeks.
This a list of small but scientifically proven wins to combat this obviously huge struggle through a large portion of people’s lives.
But why would you want to do this?
“I make fine choices, I’m good right now, I’m happy.” – Then great. Don’t adopt any of these, this isn’t for you. But what if you could make better choices…
All of those choices, interactions, and repercussions compound over time. You don’t gain 30 lbs overnight, or make 10 new friends in one outing. It is the accumulation of how you decide & act throughout your day, each and every day.
These habits help lower stress, reduce anxiety, produce mental clarity, so that you can decide and act for the best you possible.
Some of these behaviors are more demanding than others, but if you just try one and see a positive impact that is still a win for you and others.
The second question is, is happiness even a good thing? Or, does it just simply feel good and has no other repercussions?
A review of the entirety of the available literature has exposed that happiness does have countless byproducts that benefit, which appear to profit not only the individuals, but the families, communities, and the society at large (Lyubomirsky, King, & Diener, 2005). And these habits cultivate more positivity, and minimize anxiety & negative patterns.
We are a product of the habits, activities, and chemicals we take in.
There’s a lot of habits that decide how we interact with the world.
These are habits we’ve been introduced to, habits that we’ve been taught.
For example, we’ve been taught to say please and thank you. But why?
It seems that these are very innocuous phrases as they transpire, but the real reason is that this habitual action of recognizing a nice act helps you interact with the world in a better manner. Get it, manners.
All habits are, are either positive or negative actions that you repeat for long periods of time.
And they either helping or hurting you. And it may not seem like it, but also helping or hurting others around you as well.
Now with that said, you don’t have to be as pure as the driven snow and adopt all of these, but if I told you that you really don’t have to disrupt your day by adopting a single habit that’ll help you AND others around you each and every day. It’d seem selfish to do otherwise. Just a single one has been proven to augment people’s lives for the better.
Think of being less impetuous on how you snap at a spouse, friend, or coworker. As well as taking a step back, removing yourself from a trance of trans-fat and eating 3 more donuts after the first one’s been inhaled.
These quick & scientifically backed strategies will help you make sounder decisions as well as making you feel better. Helping you while interacting with others, making sound food choices, not feeling anxious and distressed or at least minimizing it than it would be otherwise.
So lets get to it,
Cold showers (2-3 minutes)
(Hydrotherapy) is the external or internal use of water in any of its forms (water, ice, steam) for health promotion or treatment of various diseases with various temperatures, pressure, duration, and site.
How it works – The Anti-depressive effect of cold shower attributed to existence of high density of cold receptors in our skin and able to send an overwhelming amount of electrical impulses from the peripheral nerve endings to the brain.
There is a release of norepinephrine into your body’s bloodstream, as well as in areas of the brain. norepinephrine is not only a hormone, but it is also a neurotransmitter and it’s involved in focus, attention and mood.
Let me tell you the first 2 weeks I began this, it was horrible. But as is everything else I became acclimated to it. (I don’t recommend taking them at night just in the morning.)
But you do feel an explosion of energy after 3 minutes and you’re ready to move about the world with a better you. I DO recommend having a warm towel ready
Needless to say this is booming in popularity in mainstream media, and I predict its only going to be promoted more with the already copious amounts of data proving its efficacy. Meditation is accruing larger and larger amounts of proof for its wide range of benefits. Here depression symptoms were reduced by 40% from an exercise and meditation routine, done twice a week for ONLY 2 months.
Its benefits are not limited to only these, but they do vary from
And even 3x learning speed
And reduce depression on its own without any exercise implemented
Taking time to reflect, breathe, and slow down is an easy habit to introduce, it just takes a few minutes.
Fasting increases neurogenesis (the building of brain cells)
Calorie restriction showed no effects but according to Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at the National Institute of Aging Mattson “We find that the intermittent fasting increases neurogenesis while limited daily reduction in calories has very little effect,” – “And what we’re thinking, from the standpoint of evolution, is that animals living in the wild, including our ancestors, often had to go extended time periods without food. If you haven’t had food for a while, your mind becomes more active—it has to become very active, to help you figure out how to find food.”
It tricks and simply hacks the hormonal response the body has in a calorie restriction process. It orchestrates a lot of genes, like turning on stem cell production.
It’s shown that a simple 2 times a year is enough
Additionally it counteracts disease processes and involves the activation of adaptive cellular stress response signaling pathways that enhance mitochondrial health, DNA repair and autophagy.
The neurogenic hypothesis suggests that depression is associated with a reduction in the birth of new neurons in the hippocampus (neurogenesis), an area of the brain important to stress regulation, cognition, and mood. Intermittent fasting has been shown to increase this neurogenesis.
3 Thirty-minute walks per week
Do you really need to re-watch those 2 episodes of The Big Bang Theory you’ve already seen?
Simply cut out a half hour of your television time 3 times out of 7 you get each week and get moving. Better yet if you REALLY want to still watch your precious series’ as much as gollum wants the ring, then invest in a tablet and walk with that. There is no excuse to get moving a little bit more.
More on walking here
Research from Pen state have found the more physically active people are yielded much more enthusiasm
In another study, just 30 minutes of treadmill walking for 10 consecutive days was adequate enough to produce a clinically relevant reduction in depression. Woah right?
Journaling I think is a neglected art.
People are running on so much momentum of the business of their lives.
Its very seldom people sit and reflect, let alone put it into their own words on any type of medium, even using like the actual paper and pen to how you feel.
Journal for 20 minutes about a positive experience you’ve recently had has been shown to increase your positive outlook and happiness.
This helps you remember and “relive” those experiences you like.
Also, Journaling about negative experiences also reduce the sting they have on your physiology. You properly think about them talk them out with yourself and describe them in your own words. The pen is mighty and has shown to relieve:
Have an emotional release effect
Effective way to clear your mind.
led to less stress-related visits to the doctor
Led to greater psychological well-being
Declined depressive symptoms before examinations
Fewer post-traumatic intrusion and avoidance symptoms
Heightend lung function
Heigtend liver function
Improved immune system functioning
Reduced blood pressure
Led to fewer days in hospital
Significantly improved mood/affect
The societal results were also remarkable
A higher turn around on re-employment after job loss
Declined absenteeism from work
Improved working memory
Altered social and linguistic behavior
Elevated sporting performance
Raised students’ grade point average
Random Acts of Kindness.
Commit a random act of kindness. Get creative and make it fun. Paying for a stranger’s coffee is enough to count!
It’s a great feeling for you and the individual.
But it isn’t just simply pleasurable to help. For example, a research study found that 9- to 11-year old kids who practiced acts of kindness got happier.
That was not the only result found, they also become more popular among their peers.
Additionally, acts of kindness (outside your interpersonal world) led to the disease resistance change in immune cell gene expression. (Nelson, Fritz, Lyubomirsky, & Cole, 2016).
A person doing amazing work and whose work influenced this section here largely is Sonja Lyumbomirsky
Also findings from Berkley found much higher rates of happiness was correlated to kindness you projected.
A great source of inspiration, (if you don’t know how to be kind very well) is Random Acts of Kindness
In fact, happy people scored higher on their motivation to perform, and their recognition and enactment of kind behaviors.
They additionally had more happy memories in daily life in terms of both quantity and quality. A week of counting your own acts of kindness increased subjective happiness. Kindness and gratefulness in happy people increased even further through this counting kindnesses intervention.
Ever read a book before bed? It’s quite relaxing. Bibliotherapy is a very broad term for the ancient practice of inspiring reading for a therapeutic outcome. Benefits have shown
Better relationships with others
Reduced symptoms of depression
Reduced risks of dementia
Emory University conducted a study that depicted enhances in connectivity in the brain as well as improving functionality of the brain.
Write down 5 things you are grateful for each week
This positive activity is designed to encourage gratitude and to jumpstart a routine. The habit of getting the most out of your the positive aspects of your life in contrast to focusing on the negative aspects. Simply take 5 minutes 1 time a week. Everyone has 5 minutes. Write down 5 things you’re grateful for. One of mine is that you’re reading this!
“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” Charles Dickens
A hybrid of the journaling about positive experiences & gratitude.
It is a simple idea, you can get any jar (I like to use a sentimental container I explained to a parent what I was doing and then asked them to help me find something in their home)
Its acknowledging and reflecting and journaling all wrapped into one.
Firstly, you are not going to remember the simple, fun, or positive experiences within a following months’ time.
So, you write a small win or experience on a piece of paper and place it in your jar. When things are bleak, down, or you just need a small pick me up you venture to your jar and pull out one of those pieces of paper you’ve placed in previously! Simple, effective, and really unpredictably fun to do.
Socialize with friends’ family
The worst thing we can do to people in prison is isolate them.
Not being able to communicate and interact breaks people down exponentially
Its quite simple to understand that the alternative, placing yourself around copious friends, family, and potential mates would increase your well-being and enhance your life.
People with greater depressive symptoms report more frequent negative social interactions and react more strongly to them. If you combine the gratefulness aspect or pinpointing positive experiences in your life and surrounding yourself with people’s presence you enjoy, it is likely to have paramount effects and if not going to instantly change the way you feel.
These happy and healthy habits can be nurtured, acquired, and directly taught. All of these small practices are brief, self-administered, and cost-effective. If you want a change. Take 5-10 minutes a day. No excuses. You’ll see benefits.
If you liked these tips please feel free to share, write, or talk about them with friends, on your own blog or podcast & social media.
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