6 Mental Health Tips Proven By Science

by on Jul 26th, 2016

Mental health concerns don’t just exist during exam time. Maintaining our mental health is important for all aspects of our life, and there are lots of ways to help us keep a happy brain. Here are 6 tips that are backed by science to help you alleviate stress, prevent depression and keep you smiling!

1. Get Outside

Multiple studies show that hanging out in green spaces has a positive effect on our mental health. In recent studies, participants who spent time in parks experienced brain functioning similar to that of people meditating. They also experienced lower levels of frustration, felt an increase in their self-esteem and had improved moods.

So whether you’re going for a casual stroll, wanting to play with some woodland critters, or trying to catch a bulbasaur, go find some parks to hang out in.

2. Let’s Get Physical, Physical

We’re talking about exercise here guys – get your mind out of the gutter. We’ve already covered the positive impacts of aerobic exercise on brain function in a previous post, but here are the basics for those that missed it:

  • Exercising releases dopamine, serotonin and endorphins into your body, which in turn makes you feel pretty good.
  • It also helps reduce anxiety and stress by purging your body of cortisol.

Studies also show that aerobic exercise and hitting the pavement can reduce depressive symptoms, and help alleviate anxiety and panic disorder symptoms.

3. Sexual Healing

Ok, fine. We weren’t just talking about exercise. According to science and Marvin Gaye, sexual healing is a real thing. In a recent study, researchers found that a daily dose of intercourse encouraged cell growth in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls our stress and anxiety levels. In short, more sex = less stress.

4. Get a good sleep

Seriously, who doesn’t love sleep? Not only does it leave you feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world, but t’s also pretty important when it comes to our mental health. However, lot’s of us aren’t actually getting enough sleep, and when we don’t get enough zzzz’s some scary stuff can happen. For instance, we can potentially change our brain chemistry, leading to deterioration of cognition, memory, and mood. If you are having a difficult time falling asleep, here are some proven tips (including napping, so you know they’re legit) that will help you get back to bed.

5. Turn Up the Music

This one is probably a little obvious, but music is great for elevating our mood and reducing stress. It also has potential therapeutic uses, and can help ease pain and depression – and also increase creativity! So while you might already be playing music to cheer up on a bad day, you now have the scientific evidence to prove it!! So go ahead, blast that song! And if your roommate tells you turn it down, throw some science at them.

6. Unplug

Don’t freak out. We’re suggesting something drastic here: turn off your phone and computer. Crazy, we know. But science suggests unplugging for a little bit each day is beneficial to our mental health and relationships. Part of the problem is that instead of making us feel more connected and supported, social media can actually create feelings of envy, misery and loneliness. Try staying away from social media for a few hours and instead focus on something else, like catching up with a friend in real life!

Phones, tablets and computers can also mess with your sleep, which, like we said, isn’t great for your mental health. The screens all emit blue light, which stops the production of melatonin and makes it hard to fall asleep at night. A couple hours before you’re ready for bed, shut down your electronics and mellow out with a little music or reading. Trust us, you don’t need to watch that last cat video before bed. No, you don’t have to wander Edmonton looking for Pokémon at midnight. Netflix will be there tomorrow. Unplug and give your brain the break it deserves!

Remember to take care of yourself, and if you are feeling overwhelmed or need someone to talk to you, there are resources available to you:

Peer Support:

Fall & Winter Terms

Monday – Thursday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

City Centre Campus
Rm. 6-108A
Phone: 780.497.4776
peersupport@samu.ca

Office: 7-292, City Centre Campus

Centre for the Arts and Communications
Rm. 201
Phone: 780.497.4464
lifestyleCFAC@samu.ca

MacEwan Counselling Services

Centre for the Arts and Communications
10045 156 St
Room 337
780-497-4340

City Centre Campus
10700 104 Ave
Room 7-103A
780-497-5063

Alberta College Campus
Contact City Centre Campus reception at 780-497-5063 to book an appointment with a counsellor at Alberta College Campus.

Email: studentaffairs@macewan.ca