Spring is a time of renewal. As the weather warms and we continue to live under a stay-at-home order due to public health concerns, there are ways we can help ourselves and our children fight depression. While no substitute for professional help, these five easy tips can benefit everyone:
1) Exercising your brain with mental activity, such as reading, learning a new skill, even doing a puzzle, helps your brain continue to make new connections. There is research to support mental exercises as a key component in helping keep our brains young and in improving our moods. To help you get started, I will be offering key phrases after each tip which will help you learn more on each of these suggestions. (online search phrase: “mental stimulation”)
2) Physical exercise for your body is known to release endorphins in your brain, which is one of the neurotransmitters (chemicals) which help us to regulate mood. Other neurotransmitters released during physical activity include dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, the same chemicals targeted in prescription medications given to help patients stabilize their moods. (online search phrase: “exercise and endorphins”)
3) Get some sunshine by going outside as many days as possible. Stay-at-home is not the same as stay-in-your-home. Emerging research leads to support the theory that an adequate level of Vitamin D is necessary to elevate mood and fight depression. Studies have shown that people can significantly increase their levels of Vitamin D naturally by going outside for just 10-15 minutes a day, three times a week. Why not combine this fact with tip #2 and take a walk? (online search phrases: “Vitamin D and depression” and “sunshine and Vitamin D”)
4) Humor, including a good laugh, stimulates blood circulation. Increased blood circulation helps all organs in our bodies function more efficiently. When our bodies are functioning optimally, stress levels are reduced. Although we are dealing with a serious public health concern, we need to take time to remind ourselves that laughing is still OK. (online search phrase: “humor to cope with stress”)
5) Just smile for no reason at all. The physical act of smiling, even if you force yourself, has been shown to elevate mood. Elevating your mood provides stress relief and a strengthened immune system, among other positive benefits that we all need. Smiling is such a simple act that we can all do whenever we are feeling down, and a smile is easy to pass on to others. (online search phrase: “smile health benefits”)
Depression is a serious mental health condition that can easily escalate during trying times. The tips included in this article are offered to help but are no substitute for professional intervention. If you feel like you or a loved one need something more, please contact your doctor or a qualified mental health professional.
For more information: Mobile Therapy Centers (MTC) is a private therapy company offering individual services to children and families, including counseling & behavioral therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and ABA therapy for children on the autism spectrum, as well as educational workshops and webinars. For more information, please contact MTC at email@example.com or # 847-816-7200.
This article was written by Carol Morrone, Manager of Educational Services & Development for Mobile Therapy Centers
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