Before anything else, let’s examine how our way of life affects how we feel on a daily basis.
Every day, every hour, and every minute, the human body changes as a result of responses to internal and external factors. To preserve inner balance, our bodies constantly respond to our environment.
Homeostasis is the term scientists use to describe the generally steady equilibrium of our internal environment that is maintained by the body’s ongoing adaptation of physiological processes with continuous monitoring via feedback loops.
Simply said, our systems constantly assess the adjustments we make to what we do, consume, and experience on a daily basis and adjust the levels of hormones, neurochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and other substances in our bodies as a result.
This explains why the routine activities and lifestyle decisions we make have such a great effect on our general well-being. Because of this process, 80% of what you do, eat, think, and feel determines how you feel about your health, while the remaining 20% has little to no bearing on it.
One will still become fitter, stronger, and faster over time if one regularly exercises, but one or two days a week at the gym will suffice. Similar to how they would not achieve their fitness goals if the same person visited the gym only occasionally, say once every two weeks. The moral of the story is that consistency is important since what we do on a regular basis affects our health.
Our mental health and mood are affected by this statement, which explains why even minor adjustments to our daily routine can have a significant impact on how we feel over time.
Lifestyle Tips for Anxiety & Mood
For many years, sound therapy has been a highly well-liked method of unwinding and regaining mental wellness. Indigenous civilizations have employed music for thousands of years to promote health and well-being.
Since then, neuroscientists have investigated this phenomenon and identified the songs that offer the greatest musical value. In one of these trials, participants had to work quickly to solve challenging problems while being wired up to sensors to track their reaction to stress. Researchers discovered that a time-constrained task causes a particular level of stress at baseline and observed participants’ various stress reactions while performing the same task while listening to various music. The physiological manifestations of stress, such as heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate, were combined with brain activity to quantify stress.
The study’s participants’ overall anxiety-based brain activity was shown to decrease by 65% when listening to the music that was the most relaxing, and bodily responses to stress were reduced by 35%.
Though it may surprise you to learn that our brains contain lymphatic systems, they are unable to detoxify us or remove metabolic waste while we are awake. insane, huh? Our brains have the capacity to perform an internal “spring clean” and remove the trash only while we are asleep.
Numerous negative health effects, many of which have an impact on our emotional and mental well-being, have been linked inextricably to inadequate sleep, according to research. It has been demonstrated that insufficient sleep negatively affects our bodies’ capacity to regulate blood sugar stability. Your mood is negatively impacted by blood sugar dysregulation if you’ve ever felt “hungry.” To avoid expressing “sorry for what I said while I was hungry,” go to bed by 10 p.m. and try to wake up 7-8 hours later.
No matter how much or how little you identify with your inner yogi or spiritual self, gratitude and meditation are healthy practices for everyone. The goal of meditation, a reflective practice, is to calm the mind and focus on the present moment in order to block out worries and problems from the past or future. Deep belly breathing, body scans, using a meditation app (like Insight Timer or Calm), or even just taking a contemplative nature stroll are examples of this.
In meditation, there are numerous methods. Find a method that works for you because some may be simpler for you to complete than others.
It has been demonstrated that regular meditation practice alters brain areas associated with depression and anxiety. Researchers have shown that people with anxiety and depression exhibit overactivity in a particular region of the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala.
Cognitive processing of self-referential information and processing of daily events occurs in the prefrontal cortex. If we find ourselves worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, the prefrontal cortex may work overtime, causing us to feel stressed and anxious all the time.
These ideas then trigger a fight-or-flight reaction in the amygdala, sometimes known as our “fear center.” The adrenal glands release stress hormones as a result of the fight-or-flight reaction, which results in feelings of dread, anxiety, helplessness, or despair throughout the body. By allowing us to put our problems aside and concentrate on the here and now, meditation helps us avoid the chain of brain processes that result in anxiety and depressed moods.
According to psychology, we become experts at what we repeatedly do on a physical, mental, and emotional level. As a result, developing a daily gratitude or meditation practice—ideally through the use of a gratitude journal—can help us become more adept at being grateful and mindful.
Although this may seem fanciful, there is solid science supporting it. We are unable to experience unpleasant thoughts or negative mood states when we are feeling grateful. Due to our inability to multitask, humans can, at any given time, perform more than two tasks, but we can only give one task our full attention. This emphasizes the importance of having good goals and how shifting our attention may affect how we perceive each waking moment.
Have you ever entered a gym feeling down and left having the energy to take on the world? One of the quickest mood-altering activities we can do is exercise. Exercise has been demonstrated in studies to improve mood, especially when done with others.
Dopamine and feel-good endorphins are elevated as we move our bodies, causing what is more popularly referred to as a “runner’s high.” You can feel this beneficial impact exercise has on our neurochemistry without engaging in strenuous activities like Crossfit or HIIT training. All it takes is a great way to alter your mood state with a little jog, dancing class, pilates session, yoga class, or some sort of physical training.
Yoga and other forms of physical activity have also been found to promote the synthesis of GABA, a neurochemical that has soothing and anxiolytic properties. Try substituting a regular 10-minute yoga session for a glass of wine if you often reach for one to “unwind” at the end of the day. Both activities release GABA, and the swap will improve both your mood and your savings.
Aqua-therapy has been used for many years to help people with neurological disorders and PTSD, and swimming has many other recognized and verified advantages.
While reducing edema, blood pressure, and skeletal misalignment, this therapeutic application of water-based movement promotes enhanced muscular tone, the blood supply to the brain, mobility, motor control, coordination, and proprioception. Particularly interesting with reference to emotional states is the increase in blood flow to the brain and the ensuing spatial awareness that swimming causes.
According to studies, those with PTSD and those with neurological disorders or impairments who adapt to water therapy (and other forms of exercise) experience beneficial cognitive changes and mood benefits. Medical research has also shown that aerobic exercise is essential for recovery from PTSD and that it is an effective treatment for sadness and anxiety.
Our daily activities give our bodies the knowledge they require to decide how to balance hormones, pleasant neurochemicals, and physiology. Regularly partaking in one, some, or all of these activities will train your body to have a reduced baseline level of stress and aid in the development of stress resilience.
The pursuit of activities that rest, calm, recharge, and restore our energy and brains that have grown acclimated to the fast-paced modern lifestyle constitutes rest-based living. Anyone who wants to maintain their brain’s peak cognitive function, especially as they get older, ought to make this idea of “rest-based life” their focal point and top priority.