5 Activities That Stimulate Mental Health

5 Activities That Stimulate Mental Health 

take nurturing serious

Considering that physical health is often dictated by mental health, it would be privy to take nurturing the latter seriously. There are a myriad of means by which this can be achieved, but hiking/being in nature, meditation, yoga, nutrition, and listening to music are the focus here. Each offer well-documented and researched benefits that are advantageous to brain stimulation. 

 

Hiking is an excellent means by which our brains are given a chance to thrive. The combination of a serenely scenic and calming environment allows the mind to cognitively realign itself. Being out in nature has a documented, physiological effect on the neurological functioning of the brain.

A recent study conducted by Stanford University explores the beneficial
ramifications of being in nature, even in small doses. Unfortunately,
opportunities for many to experience a walk in nature for any period of time
have grown fewer and farther between with the ever expanding of the urban
sprawl. 

 

Noted by the findings is an acknowledgement that “more than half of the
world’s population lives in urban settings, and that is forecast to rise to 70
percent within a few decades. Just as urbanization and disconnection from
nature have grown dramatically, so have mental disorders such as depression.” 

 

Yoga is also greatly beneficial to mental health. Not unlike going for a
walk in the park or wilderness, it engages both mind and body. An article found
on the Harvard University health page details findings, which assert a link
between yoga and a substantial decrease in both anxiety and depression. 

 

Cited is a study conducted in 2000, which “examined the effects of a
single yoga class for inpatients at a New Hampshire psychiatric hospital. The
113 participants included patients with bipolar disorder, major depression, and
schizophrenia. After the class, average levels of tension, anxiety, depression,
anger, hostility, and fatigue dropped significantly, as measured by the Profile
of Mood States, a standard 65-item questionnaire that participants answered on
their own before and after the class.”

 

 

Meditation is an excellent practice in regard to mental health and
fitness. Not the thumb-to-forefinger and 
humming cliché, but a very intentional reflection allowing the brain to
cease its racing, especially in these modern times that demand we continuously
multitask, meet deadlines, and endure undue stress is a crucial practice for
our overactive brains. Whether prayer, breathing exercises, or focusing on the
blessings in our lives, meditation promotes an environment of tranquility and
peace in the midst of the chaos we have become accustomed to in our personal
lives. 

 

It may seem that it would go without saying, but physical exercise, from
a pickup game of basketball to jumping jacks, is vital to mental health and
fitness. Heidi Godman of the Harvard Health Letter notes the tangible benefits
to both thinking skills and memory that aerobic exercise, specifically,
facilitates. Researchers at the University of British Columbia “found that
regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands
pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved
in verbal memory and learning.”

 

Lastly, but certainly not least, is music. Music, whether instrumental
or otherwise, can evoke nostalgia, good memories, and a general sesame of
warmth, all while engaging the brain. Experts at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology take it a step further as detailed in an article via their news site
entitled ‘Music in the Brain,’ “MIT neuroscientists have identified a neural
population in the human auditory cortex that responds selectively to sounds
that people typically categorize as music, but not to speech or other
environmental sounds.” It’s remarkable that music exudes exclusive qualities to
which the brain responds.

 

 

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.

Rod Stone
Author,
Publisher and Supplier of Healthy Living information and products to improve
your life.

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