Many people have experienced worsening mental health conditions during the ongoing pandemic. Those who already suffered from depression, anxiety and other such conditions have been badly affected by the major enforced changes in lifestyle that covid-19 has brought about.
Not being able to see friends and socialise as usual has led to many of us seeking help and advice for stress and anxiety.
It is perhaps depression that has been the most prevalent mental health condition in previously unaffected people during the last year.
The limits on movement have been particularly hard for those living in smaller homes with limited outdoor space. In the article that follows we will begin by looking at some tips that may help you keep your mood up, and then we will be explaining the causes of depression, and the part that serotonin plays in determining our moods.
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Now, let’s look at a few tips that have been proven to help people with ongoing mental health conditions.
5 Wellness Tips To Boost Your Mood Into Positivity
- Get Outside – if at all possible, try and spend some time outdoors every day. Even if it’s just ten minutes it’s worth it, and if the sun is shining even more so. Being out in the fresh air is known to help with mental health issues and is also good for your general health, especially as we have been stuck largely indoors for some time.
- Eat Properly – it is easy when one is suffering a bout of depression to forget the essential factors that make our lives healthy. A good and balanced diet is important not only to keep your body in good shape but also to keep the brain functioning and producing the hormones and other chemicals that keep us working.
- Exercise Regularly – physical exercise helps your mental health. If you are physically fit, you will feel better in yourself. It may be difficult to indulge in a long walk, but if not try and walk for half an hour a day. You may want to consider cycling as a good source of exercise as it is permitted right now in most places. Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to merely slouch indoors as that will not help.
- Get Gardening – one of the most helpful ways of dealing with depression is to keep a garden. If you don’t have outdoor spaces grow plants indoors – you can grow tomatoes and chillies as well as flowers in most places – but if you do have an outside space, make it a nice little garden and you will feel the benefit.
- Chat Online – video conferencing apps are all the rage right now and give you an opportunity to talk to friends and family wherever they are, either one-to-one or as a group. The latter can lead to games, quizzes and virtual nights out (or in) with friends and it pays to keep in touch if you are starting to feel the pressure.
The above are good suggestions for people who are prone to depression, anxiety and stress, and many of us are worried and confused by what is going on in the world. Next, we want to talk about depression itself, how it occurs and what a substance known as serotonin has to do with it all.
Depression and Serotonin
For those who are not familiar with depression but have found themselves suffering in the last year, let us explain what it’s about and serotonin’s role in causing what is a surprisingly common condition.
First, depression is not simply ‘feeling down’. It’s much greater than that and, when experienced regularly can be a debilitating illness that is difficult to control. That control is largely down to serotonin, so here’s what it’s all about.
Serotonin is what is known as a neurotransmitter. It is a substance that is produced naturally in the brain, and it carries signals from one part of the brain to others, influencing what we do and also how we feel. It influences our sleep, our sex drive, and our general mood.
However, while it is not known exactly why, some people are prone to low levels of serotonin production, which results in poor mood and other dark feelings. If you feel such, we strongly advise you contact a doctor for diagnosis, and they may prescribe a course of antidepressants that stimulate serotonin production.
Depression can be controlled, and millions of chronic depression sufferers lead perfectly enjoyable lives, so follow our tips above, keep in touch with friends and if you do begin to feel that depression is setting in, talk to a doctor as soon as you can.