Did you know that these 5 things can affect your mental health?

Extreme alertness for minority * The last two and a half years have been tough for mental health. “There’s almost this second pandemic where people feel lonely, isolated and disconnected,” he says. Dr. Sarah GuptaSan Francisco psychiatrist and medical writer GoodRx.

So many factors are so closely linked to our mental health, and almost all of them have been successful since the time of COVID. Although many of these things are out of our control, as we continue to return to normalcy, it is important to deal with habits that we can actually change.

Here, Dr. Gupta explains some of these non-obvious factors and shares some simple tips to ensure that you are doing what you can to protect your emotional well-being.

Your posture

Anyone who has been to WFH knows the temptation to switch to the couch around 3pm, but being bent over on your laptop can affect your mood a number. (Are you going to a place other than your living room? This is likely to apply to you.)

“A lot of people don’t realize that their body posture actually sends information to their brain,” Dr. Gupta explained. This 2017 study published in Cognition and emotion it supports this, seeing that those who sat in a crooked position struggled more to recover from a negative mood than those who sat correctly.

Dr. Gupta’s advice

Set a reminder or alarm on your phone to correct your attitude every hour. When turning off, make sure your shoulders are above your hips and your head is in a neutral position. “Sit, sit, take a deep breath to your diaphragm, and let your body feel that different posture,” says Dr. Gupta. “If you feel anxious, remember that you have this tool.”

Your friends

In 2022, we are committed to appreciating our friends for many reasons. And at the top of the list is our mental health. “It’s not just about being proud to be friends or knowing that you have a community; human connections really improve your brain’s neurotransmitters,” says Dr. Gupta.

What’s more: the number of friends you have doesn’t matter (we asked). The key is to surround yourself with people who can be the most real of you.

Dr. Gupta’s advice

Be honest with yourself about how long you have to spend with your friends to feel fulfilled, refreshed, and empowered, and then realize it; even if it’s just one dinner a month, it makes a difference.

Want to expand your circle? Dr. Gupta recommends trying something new. “Taking a class, joining a Zoom support team, volunteering, or being a member of a local museum or garden can help you expand your world and open the door to new connections and new friendships,” he says. (They are here nine other ideas.)

Your Laughter

Spending hours binging to your favorite session can often have a bad reputation, but if it makes you laugh, you can at least consider it a partial victory (if you do it with a friend you get extra points).

“Smiling and laughing sends messages to your brain: ‘Hey, everything’s fine. I can rest and relax. Life is good,'” Dr. Gupta explained. “There is a place to rest and relax in that state that is a protection against anxiety, depression and stress.”

Specifically, people who laughed frequently reported feeling less overwhelmed in situations of life stress, according to them, compared to those who laughed less. 2020 study published in A PLOS.

Dr. Gupta’s advice

Set a goal to laugh once a day (that’s the self-improvement challenge we can be behind). Queue up your favorite session, call a funny friend, go to your favorite meme account, anything that gives your day a light touch. (Check out these five health benefits of laughter).

Take your water

Social media can do something with a bottle of emotional support water; Drinking enough water is essential for both physical and mental health.

“When you don’t drink enough water and mild dehydration at the tips of your feet, your body sounds the alarm that you’re life-threatening and starts promoting these stress hormones, especially cortisol,” says Dr. Gupta.

That’s not the perfect place to be regularly, as cortisol vertices are linked to anxiety, depression, and mood disorders, he says.

Dr. Gupta’s advice

“If you feel thirsty or overwhelmed, try drinking a nice glass of cold water,” says Dr. Gupta. “And if you’re someone who likes structure more, use alarms or monitors to remind yourself that drinking water is part of your self-care.” (Here’s how to know how much to drink).

Access to Your Nature

“Our ancestors’ brains control a lot of our stress response, ”says Dr. Gupta. We are prepared to need time in nature. “Humans evolved to prefer freshwater, sunlight, and natural environments because they provided us with the resources we needed to stay alive,” he says. “But today, nature not only allows us to survive, it helps us move forward.”

Spending even a short amount of time in nature — yes, you can count on your gym, social gathering place, and local park that has become an oasis for self-care in the last two and a half years — can greatly benefit your mental health. 2019 one Limitations in Psychology the study found that just being away for 20 minutes significantly reduced stress hormone levels.

Dr. Gupta’s advice

Get out as much as you can. And so you get the advantage that you are stuck inside these days, bring nature by putting a plant on your table.

For more advice from Dr. Gupta, as well as other doctors, pharmacists, and health experts, go to: GoodRx Health.

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