September can be a stressful time. It’s filled with schedules that are jam packed, new routines to be followed and numerous daily trips/errands. Between work, school, sports practices, doctor’s appointments and social outings, it’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed, rundown and even depressed. However, did you know that the key to getting through this period (and life itself) is to just “be happy”? The fact is that happier people are healthier and more productive. Psychologists say that happiness and other positive emotions play a big role in our overall health. In fact, a 2012 Harvard University study found that “positive psychological well-being appears to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events.” Other studies have also shown that happier people work harder and are more productive, which is fantastic if you’re rushing around trying to get September under control! So, how can you reduce September stress and negativity? Here are a few ways to release negative emotions and improve your level of happiness:
- USE A JOURNAL: Many different studies show that writing down your thoughts on a regular basis can help improve your mood. In one sense, writing about stresses and worries can help you understand them better and make it easier for you to deal with them. Keeping a “gratitude journal” can also help. These are journals where you write down everything that you are grateful for on a regular basis which can help you focus on positive things, thereby improving your mood and your overall health.
- LIVE IN THE PRESENT: Psychologists have found that people spend almost half their time distracted by thoughts of the past or the future. These thoughts reduce your level of happiness because they’re often focused on regrets or goals not yet achieved which, in turn, causes anxiety, stress and other negative consequences. Living in the present moment does take effort, but it also makes a difference to your overall happiness. If you find you’re having a hard time staying in the present, try slowing down, focusing on your breathing and thinking about what you’re actually doing and what’s currently happening around you. You might also want to turn off notifications on your phone. In fact, try not to look at your phone at all for a period of time each day and spend that time focusing what you’re currently doing.
- LEARN TO LET GO: Holding on to regrets or past pain/hurts can have a dramatic impact on your well-being. While it can be very, very difficult to let go of this pain, doing so is also very, very beneficial. While it can be difficult to let go, sometimes just making the decision to do can have a noticeable impact and can set the tone for actually letting go. Try to make a commitment to yourself to stop going over details in your mind and find a way to express your pain or sadness. As mentioned earlier, writing your feelings down works for many people. However, others release pain through art or by talking to friends. Do what feels right to you and try to focus on the present day and things that you’re grateful for and that bring you joy.
- TRY MEDITATION & EXERCISE: Meditation, yoga or some other form of exercise can also have a positive impact on your sense of well-being. Whether you choose to sign up for formal classes or to simply start by spending more time in silence while focusing on your breathing and increasing your level of daily physical activity, you’ll be surprised at what a difference it can make.
- KNOW WHEN TO SEEK HELP: It’s important to recognize the difference between feeling stressed or sad and being clinically depressed. If you have feelings of sadness or hopelessness that won’t go away no matter what you do, consider speaking with a health professional. Clinical depression is a serious condition and should not be treated lightly.
There’s no doubt that there’s a strong connection between our mental state and our physical health. If you need help making positive changes in your life, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Remember, at Physiomed…Healthier Starts Here.