Spring in to exercise this March. Keeping fit and healthy has many positive benefits to your mental wellbeing. Regular exercise can leave you feeling more energetic, mentally sharper and more positive throughout the day plus enable you to sleep better. We’ll cover off some key topics around looking after yourself.
Looking for ways to stay healthy?
Here are 40 things you can do today to ensure you stay physically and mentally fit
Exercise can help you to perform better at work, researchers say
Exercise has been found to reduce stress, increase positive mood, decrease anxiety and alleviate depression. But you may not know that the emotional wellbeing associated with exercise is also linked to key attributes that can help us while we work.
One of the most established of wellbeing frameworks states that of the many ways to experience happiness, five areas are most important: positive emotions; mental engagement; strong relationships; meaning in life; and accomplishing goals – Perma, for short. At face value, achieving all five may seem a colossal task. But many activities from tennis to triathlons, squash to swimming, can help us to clinch all five at once. Evidence suggests that, as a result, we are more likely to avoid job burnout, sleep more easily and be more engaged at work.
1. Positive emotions
The “runner’s high” is at the peak of positive emotion. While this euphoric feeling is most typically linked to pounding the pavements, it can be experienced via any activity which works both muscles and heart. The high comes from endorphins – the body’s natural painkiller – being made available in the areas of the brain which process mood and emotion.
2. Mental engagement
Being in the zone is no easy task in a distracting workplace. Scientifically known as “flow”, this engagement level is the optimal amount of challenge required for personal growth. Flow occurs when a task is sufficiently difficult to avoid boredom, but not so hard that we become overwhelmed. The flow experience is associated with decreased activity in the posterior cingulate cortex – an area of the brain responsible for our sense of self. So, flow literally allows us to lose ourselves in the moment. Physical activities which provide a just-manageable challenge are great for getting into flow.
3. Strong relationships
While competitive sport can seem cut-throat, the shared pain of limit-busting events can stimulate compassion, and the more we suffer personally, the better we empathise with others. This not only strengthens our social skills, but also manifests in directing greater kindness to ourselves. Research indicates that self-compassion is a more effective strategy than self-criticism when we face difficulty.
4. Meaning in life
A philosophically foggy concept, meaning in life has been scientifically pinned down as having three components: purpose (core goals and aspirations); significance (impact beyond the trivial and immediate); and coherence (understanding own values and life story). Meaning in life can provide a stable foundation when we face adversity and helps us to make sense of troubling events. Importantly, some studies have found that a stronger sense of purpose is associated with moving more.
The value of feeling competent and successful is well known, but greater attention has recently been devoted to the manner in which we interpret success. Research into growth and fixed mindsets suggests that whether we believe ability can change (growth) or not (fixed) is central to our wellbeing.
Those with a growth mindset are more likely to work on developing their skills, embrace feedback as an opportunity to learn, and use setbacks to adapt and thrive. On the other hand, those with a fixed mindset fear failure, take feedback personally, and are discouraged by bumps in the road. But this can change. Researchers have found that a person’s mindset can be influenced by something as simple as greater self-awareness. All kinds of physical activities can objectively show us we can achieve goals that at first seemed out of reach. You might think that you’ll never be able to lift a certain weight, for example, but persist, and you will see how strong – both mentally and physically – you truly are
A focus on employee wellbeing
If you are experiencing poor mental health at work and have either been to see your GP or been diagnosed by a specialist, you might struggle with the question as to whether to disclose to your employer your mental health status and how your working environment might be adversely affecting your mental health. Mind offers a helpful step by step guide to engage with the question of employer disclosure please
See the link as follows: mind.org.uk
It is important to reflect on the concept of a ‘healthy you’
Everyone will have a different perception of health and ascribe to different value systems in maintaining their healthy self. The following information is useful as it will help determine what aspects of ‘healthy’ change you agree with and ones that you don’t. Its objective is to engage with the meaning of the concept and practice of being a healthy you to ultimately encourage subjective positive change.
See the link as follows: blogs.psychcentral.com
Social media has dramatically changed the way we communicate, and there are a lot of benefits to it. We have access to unlimited information, we can connect with people from all over the world almost immediately and we can share with other’s things that matter to us.
Social media is also a powerful tool in terms of motivating people to action and make social changes. It provides a platform for people’s voices to be heard allowing them to have a say on issues that matter to them. The online world has the potential to help young people to explore new concepts, manage risks and build resilience.
However, because social media has evolved so quickly and has a deep impact on the social fibre and interpersonal relationships it’s important to explore the potential effects on peoples’ emotional and mental health.
Over the past few years psychologists have begun to look at the effects of social media on mental wellbeing and a consistent finding of much of this research is that the heavy use of social media is associated with poorer mental health
Our reliance on social media can have a detrimental effect on our mental health, with the average Brit checking their phone as much 28 times a day. While social media platforms can have their benefits, using them too frequently can make you feel increasingly unhappy and isolated in the long run. The constant barrage of perfectly filtered photos that appear on Instagram are bound to knock many people’s self-esteem, while obsessively checking your Twitter feed just before bed could be contributing towards poor quality of sleep.
Here are six ways that social media could be negatively affecting your mental health without you even realising.
We all have our fair share of insecurities, some that we speak about openly and others that we prefer to keep to ourselves. However, comparing yourself to others on social media by stalking their aesthetically perfect Instagram photos or staying up to date with their relationship status on Facebook could do little to assuage your feelings of self-doubt. Becoming more conscious of the amount of time you spend scrolling through other people’s online profiles could help you focus more on yourself and boost your self-confidence.
2. Human Connection
As human beings, it’s so important for us to be able to communicate and forge personal connections with one another. However, it can be hard to do so when we’re glued to rectangular screens, becoming more acquainted with our friends’ digital facades than their real-life personas.
Social media can be great for looking back fondly on memories and recounting how past events occurred. However, it can also distort the way in which you remember certain tidbits from your life. Many of us are guilty of spending far too much time trying to take the perfect photo of a visual marvel, all the while not actually absorbing the first-hand experience of witnessing it with your own two eyes.
“If we direct all of our attention toward capturing the best shots for our social media followers to admire, less will be available to enjoy other aspects of the experience in real time,” said Dr Bono.
“Spending too much time on our phones will detract from those other aspects of the experience, undermining the happiness we could be gleaning from them.”
Having enough sleep is of paramount importance. However, many of us use our phones too soon before choosing the hit the hay, making it harder to doze off.
“Getting worked up with anxiety or envy from what we see on social media keeps the brain on high alert, preventing us from falling asleep,” explained Dr Bono.
“Plus, the light from our mobile device just inches from our face can suppress the release of melatonin, a hormone that helps us feel tired.”
Try setting yourself a strict rule of not going on your phone for at least 40 minutes to an hour before going to bed and see if that makes a difference to the quality of your sleep.
5. Attention span
It’s not just your subconscious brain that you need to worry about, but also the extent to which your brain is able to fully concentrate when you’re awake. Going on social media before you go to bed can negatively affect the quality of your sleep. While it’s incredible to consider the amount of information readily available at our fingertips thanks to social media, it also means that people have become far more easily distracted.
“Social media has provided a means of constantly giving into the temptation of instant, easy-access entertainment,” said Dr Bono.
6. Mental health
Not only has social media been proven to cause unhappiness, but it can also lead to the development of mental health issues such as anxiety or depression when used too much or without caution.
In March 2018, it was reported that more than a third of Generation Z from a survey of 1,000 individuals stated that they were quitting social media for good as 41 per cent stated that social media platforms make them feel anxious, sad or depressed.
While you don’t necessarily have to quit social media for good, if you feel like it’s beginning to bog you down, why not consider allocating social media-free time slots during your daily routine? The slight change could do you a whole lot of good.
The life of today’s students can feel quite chaotic and even a bit overwhelming at times.
Having to balance studies with a personal life and the need to pay attention to healthy eating, staying fit, and productivity can put a little too much pressure on a person. No wonder students often struggle with maintaining a proper healthy lifestyle and end up facing burnout, illnesses, and other health conditions. To help you find a healthy balance, we put together an infographic. It contains simple tips that can help you turn a healthy lifestyle into your reality. The tips are divided into five categories: eating habits and nutrition, staying fit, study/life balance, mental health advice, and building proper sleeping habits.
Check it all out below and stay healthy!