It’s that time of the year when we all dream of taking off to escape reality. There is nothing like the euphoria you feel when sitting on a beach listening to the tide roll in. There is also such a calm if you wake up one morning and feel happy when suffering from depression. Did you know you can have those same feelings naturally without a vacation or depending on another drug? Science has stepped in to help [with proven facts from studies] that should help you at least feel the best you can but it takes you doing two things…exercise and meditation.
Researchers at the University of Groningen had 40 college students and community citizens participate in the eight-week study, which required them to meditate for 15 minutes per day for two non-consecutive weeks. The researchers tracked when participants went on vacation, which allowed them to study how a short meditation session can affect mood relative to taking time off.
Those who meditated reported higher levels of mindfulness and were more likely to agree with statements such as, “I paid attention to sounds such as clocks ticking, birds chirping, or cars passing” and, “I watched my feelings without getting lost in them.” They also reported feeling less stressed and less likely to react negatively.
“We found that just 15-minutes of meditation was associated with similar effects as a day of vacation on aspects of mindfulness,” Christopher May, study author and assistant professor at the University of Groningen, told PsyPost. “Both meditators and vacationers reported heightened awareness of their environment and greater equanimity in experiencing their emotions.”
New research published in the journal Global Advances in Health and Medicine adds to a growing body of evidence that exercising is a powerful tool when it comes to battling depression and anxiety, potentially even stronger than medication.
David Tomasi, psychotherapist and inpatient psychiatry group therapist at the University of Vermont Medical Center, and his colleagues built a gym for roughly 100 patients in the psychiatric unit of the University of Vermont.
Their results showed that 95 percent of patients reported improvements in their moods following exercise, 92 percent of them reported improvements in their body image, and 63 percent reported feeling happy.
Tomasi said in a press release. “Now that we know it’s so effective, it can become as fundamental as pharmacological intervention.”
So if you’re struggling with a mental health issue, it’s worth seeing whether or not implementing a regular exercise routine will be as beneficial for you as it has been for others.
Never stop taking prescribed medication for depression without your doctor’s approval.
Photo courtesy of Bing via omgtoptens.com