Healthy Lifestyle Tips
1) Everyone has heard that exercise has numerous benefits for health in regards to hormones, maintaining a healthy heart, a healthy weight, and recent neuroscience research is further showing the mental wellness benefits of it. Though it is unclear whereby exercise has its beneficial effects on the brain, a number of new studies suggest it may be related to improving connectivity within and between important neural networks. For example, network connectivity of two vital networks of our brain: the Default Mode Network and Frontal Executive Networks are shown to become improved and activated well after the exercise has been complete. The powerful benefits of exercise can also be seen in that it is now “considered as a leading treatment strategy for dementia prevention.” It is usually easier to begin exercising if doing so with friend or a family member. There are also many local inter-mural team on meetup.com.
2) Use coffee wisely. Coffee can be a powerful aid for wellbeing at times, and while certainly not a treatment on its own, has shown positive results for some with depression. However, it can also increase anxiety and worries for others. The effects very person-to-person obviously, and each must find what works best for them. For those who find it can be useful, thinking about the timing of ingesting it, and how this may support or interfere with restful sleep or improve energy when feeling fatigue can prove useful. For persons having a Generalized Anxiety Disorder or other anxiety related diagnoses, it is important to be mindful that for many, caffeine can cortisol levels, increase anxiety, and be a net loss in overall wellbeing.
3) Work from a simple, but strategic to-do list. How much time do you want to carve out for this and that activity. Weave in time to enjoy or relax into a schedule that works for you. It can be easy to be caught off guard by the pace of the day, using a to do list, and sometimes setting timers to cue oneself on transitions can be useful for optimally structuring your day. Whether you are coping with ADD/ADHD, or are just looking to create a better work-flow, outlining the day, though seemingly simple, is something I continue to find invaluable. Though everyone makes lists time to time, the challenge is to create a structure which allows a continuity day-to-day.
4. Perhaps you already have a to do list in your head, or on paper, and your stress is related to not getting the things done that you wanted to do. If you have a thorough to-do list, you set yourself up to work efficiently in one very important way. When you are no longer focusing on the task at hand, try to switch to a simple one on your list - running a mindless errand, making that call you needed to make, do something else that averts the gridlock you might feel yourself in. Having a list of simple tasks needing to be done for the week can cue you, and maintain a flow, averting another half-hour on social media along with the guilt or irritation that can sometimes accompany this.
5. Try an old or new hobby, arts of any type, dance, become politically active, try an online or in person class in a subject that interests you.
6. Connect with someone. Call up an old friend or family to hike or bicycle around DC’s Capital Crescent Trail or Maryland’s Brookside Gardens.
7. Try neurofeedback or biofeedback, these can be powerful complimentary modalities to improve relaxation and reduce stress. Stress can have a biological component to it which such an approach can help to address. Ask a certified neurofeedback or biofeedback clinician if this might be a fit for you.