There are a lot of activities out there that can have a positive influence on our mental health care. These mental health resources are not only helpful to those struggling with depression, anxiety, or another condition but also to anyone who wants to maintain their mental health.
Journaling is a great pastime for anyone but especially for those who feel trapped with their thoughts. Writing down your feelings or stories from your day can be a great way to express your feelings so you don’t bottle them up. And the best part is journals are for your eyes only, so you can write or vent about anything without having to always confront the issue.
A study from 2013 showed that using journaling as a form of self-expression for only 15-20 minutes, 3 to 5 times a day for four months had positive effects such as lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, and improving mood and depressive symptoms.
Journaling can also increase memory function! And writing increases your immune system against certain diseases such as asthma, AIDS, and even cancer!
Expressive writing is also shown to speed up emotional recovery. It is a wonderful way to cope with all of the struggles has thrown at us. Journaling helps us organize thoughts about something that may have happened to negatively affect someone.
There are many benefits to writing thoughts and feelings down. Journaling also isn’t a very time-consuming activity, so it’s easy to squeeze into everyday life.
Reading also has a lot of mental health benefits, including preserving brain health. This means someone who reads has a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. In fact, those with a greater-than-average amount of mental stimulation have had a 32% reduction in their rate of mental decline.
Reading also increases creativity. Readers of fiction have been found to have a more open mind to ambiguous thoughts because accepting ambiguity is a key concept to creativity.
Another benefit of reading is that it can increase mental flexibility by increasing activity in certain parts of the brain. When someone is mentally flexible, they have an easier time adapting to their thoughts and situations. Mentally flexible people are also problem-solvers.
Reading can also lower stress and encourage relaxation. One study from 2009 concluded that reading for just 6 minutes a day can reduce stress by up to 68%!
Meditation is an activity many people engage in to train their mind, promote inner peace, and even reduce the symptoms of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.
Meditating regularly can even be an alternative to medication for some people because meditating can boost chemicals such as serotonin, also known as one of the happy chemicals. Additionally, when meditating regularly, the amygdala, also known as the fear or depression center of the brain, can actually shrink!
Crafting is another activity that can improve mental health. And luckily, there are many forms of crafting, including knitting, scrapbooking, developing film, painting, drawing, and anything else that interests you.
Studies show that knitting could slow the onset of dementia, helps fight depression, and distracts from chronic pain. So crafting could be a great mental health resource to support your mental health care plan.
Many people who engage in crafting claim they feel better after they craft, and those who would craft more often felt better than those who would craft less often.
If you don’t think you’re creative or are experiencing artist’s block, there are many ways to overcome it! One great way to find inspiration for arts and crafts is looking online, using random objects to create something, or recycling an old project. But the best way to overcome a creative block is just to start working on something. Even if you end up scrapping the entire project, it will help you start flexing your creative muscles.
According to a study at the University of Exeter in England, bird watching can reduce levels of depression, stress, and anxiety, supporting the theory that observing nature promotes healing and lowers stress levels.
When bird watching to improve mental health, it doesn’t matter what species of bird you see! Scientists found no correlation between which birds would improve your health more. This means that seeing common, everyday birds will still improve your mental health!
One of the ways bird watching helps to improve mental health is by helping you practice mindfulness. If you’re on the lookout for birds, you won’t be on your phone. Instead, you’ll be focused on your surroundings and focused on the present.
Bird watching also supports your mental health by allowing you to do something fun. Doing something you enjoy is a great way to reduce any negative symptoms you may be feeling.
There are many more activities out there that are good for your mental health care. If you would like more information and mental health resources, contact us at Serenity Mental Health Centers or check out our other blog posts!