Feeling down? Here are 5 steps to help you cheer up!

 

 

1 – Breathe

Now I know this sounds like some New Age mumbo jumbo. But scientists have found that 20 minutes of deep breathing can help relax you and bring down your blood pressure (Brook, et al, 2015;Modesti, et al, 2015;Drozdz , et al, 2016). Guided breathing is quick and easy to do, plus it doesn't require a lot of time or space. 

For a quick guide on helpful breathing exercises for beginners check out this site:

Guided Breathing Exercises

 

2 – Exercise

Now if your like me, sitting and breathing for 10 minutes or more sounds boring. This is why exercise is a great way to achieve the same physiological changes while burning some calories. You don’t have to be a cross fit fanatic to benefit from some moderate movement. In fact studies have found that 30 minutes of walking can help your brain attain a state of flow, which has the same benefits as guided breathing (Doyle, et al, 2016).

If you're up for more of a challenge, try running for 30 minutes and follow it with 30 minutes of calisthenics or weight training.

3 – Eat well 

We all know how a bad diet can affect your body. But did you know that a diet full of high fat and cholesterol could affect how well you perform tasks?

In a study conducted by Gullimen et al, (2016) it was found that participants that reported restricting their diets and following a diet routine, reported having higher energy levels through out the day. In turn the participants reported feeling better about their work days as well.

Other studies have a found a relationship between bad nutrition and depression (Needham, et al, 2015; Rahe, & Berger, 2016). It’s no wonder that if you eat fast food everyday it can make you feel crappy at the end of the week.

You don’t have to be a health nut to eat healthy. Meal prepping is a great way to ensure you avoid fast food and is easy on the budget as well.  Me personally I like going grocery shopping with my wife on Saturdays and planning what we will eat together through out the week. I try to limit red meat to two meals a week (I usually eat two steaks a week). This leaves the rest of my meals consisting of chicken and fish.

For great tips on how to meal prep for a family check out this link!

Meal Prepping

4 – Let go of negative thoughts

This can be a tough one. In psychology rumination is when people repeat negative thoughts in their heads. Sometimes it’s an argument or something negative that someone said. Other times it’s a negative event (political outcome, loss of a game from a favorite sports team). Whatever the case is, we become the bullies of our own minds when we don't let these things go.

Studies have found that when people problem solve (engage in an activity, solve a puzzle or play a video game) it can help stop the rumination cycle (Bijttebier et al, 2015; Kinnunen et al, 2016). 

For more information on how to stop rumination check out his link

Stopping Rumination

5 - Talk to a friend

You don’t have to talk to a licensed counselor (although it does help) to get some help when you’re stressed. Previous research has found that, having a strong network and social support, can help alleviate stress and prevent risk factors associated with illness (Wills, & Ainette, 2012).

Humans are social creatures, so it shouldn't be surprising that we need to reach out and talk to others sometimes.

Life goes on

Life does not go in a perfect line. If you have been lucky enough to get by this long with no hard times, then good for you! But if not, remember that you are not alone in your struggles.

In Zen they talk about letting in the good with the bad and avoid seeing life as a series of dichotomous events (good and evil).  As a social scientist I find myself writing about negative events all the time, so I use many of the steps mentioned above to keep my head up.

Just because bad things happen in the world, doesn’t mean we have to let them consume our daily lives.

 

Stay healthy and live strong!

Social Gelo with Angelo

Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology) 

References

Bijttebier, P., Raes, F., Vasey, M. W., Bastin, M., & Ehring, T. W. (2015). Assessment of Repetitive Negative Thinking in Children: the Perseverative Thinking Questionnaire–Child Version (PTQ-C). Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 37(1), 164-170.

Brook, Robert D., Elizabeth A. Jackson, Paolo Giorgini, and Cheri L. McGowan. "When and how to recommend ‘alternative approaches’ in the management of high blood pressure." The American journal of medicine 128, no. 6 (2015): 567-570.

Doyle, J. P., Filo, K., Lock, D., Funk, D. C., & McDonald, H. (2016). Exploring PERMA in spectator sport: Applying positive psychology to examine the individual-level benefits of sport consumption. Sport Management Review.

Drozdz, T., Bilo, G., Debicka-Dabrowska, D., Klocek, M., Malfatto, G., Kielbasa, G., ... & Kawecka-Jaszcz, K. (2016). Blood pressure changes in patients with chronic heart failure undergoing slow breathing training. Blood pressure, 25(1), 4-10.

Guillemin, I., Marrel, A., Arnould, B., Capuron, L., Dupuy, A., Ginon, E., ... & Urdapilleta, I. (2016). How French subjects describe well-being from food and eating habits? Development, item reduction and scoring definition of the Well-Being related to Food Questionnaire (Well-BFQ©). Appetite, 96, 333-346.

Kawecka-Jaszcz, K. (2016). Blood pressure changes in patients with chronic heart failure undergoing slow breathing training. Blood pressure, 25(1), 4-10.

Kinnunen, U., Feldt, T., de Bloom, J., Sianoja, M., Korpela, K., & Geurts, S. (2016). Linking Boundary Crossing from Work to Nonwork to Work-Related Rumination across Time: A Variable-and Person-Oriented Approach.

Modesti, P. A., Ferrari, A., Bazzini, C., & Boddi, M. (2015). Time sequence of autonomic changes induced by daily slow-breathing sessions. Clinical Autonomic Research, 25(2), 95-104.

Rahe, C., & Berger, K. (2016). Nutrition and Depression: Current Evidence on the Association of Dietary Patterns with Depression and Its Subtypes. In Cardiovascular Diseases and Depression (pp. 279-304). Springer International Publishing.

Wills, T. A., & Ainette, M. G. (2012). 20 Social Networks and Social Support. Handbook of health psychology, 465.

 

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