Physical health and fitness is a really important part of looking after ourselves but being aware of our mental health is just as important as taking care of our physical fitness.
Just like physical health, we all have mental health. Our physical health can change over the course of a day, a week and a month. Some days we have lots of energy, other days we can feel really tired or poorly. We catch colds and sniffles and even flus and infections.
We all have mental health as well, and it can also change over time. Some days we feel like we really ‘have this’, we feel able to cope at what life throws at us. Other days we aren’t feeling so good, we can feel mentally tired or run down and some days we start feeling great and something comes along that we don’t feel so able to cope with. A very dear friend of mine calls it a ‘cold of the soul’ which is a beautiful way to sum up how we feel sometimes. Whilst 1 in 4 people have a diagnoseable mental health condition, 1 in 6 of us report experiencing a common mental health concern, such as anxiety, in any given week.
Being aware of the factors that effect our mental health is a really important part of managing the ups and downs of life. All of us will have different things that effect us, such as how much sleep we get, the type of food we eat and how much we move around. Being mindful of your minds need for these things can help you reflect on why you might be finding the day a little tougher then normal.
If you do find your feeling a little down on any given day there are a number of things you can do to boost your mood. For example, listening to certain music can have a big impact on how your feel.
The main way that Music effects mood is by stimulating the release of certain chemicals from the brain. When we listen to a rhythm our heart actually begins to sync with it. When we listen to slow music with sad narratives our heat rate often dips telling our brain that something sad or depression is occurring. When we listen to upbeat music our brain recognizes a rhythm linked to excitement or happiness. Moreover, when we listen to joyful or happy narratives our brains usually release chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine which makes us feel happy
Studies by Dr Costas Karageorghis have gone on to prove that listening to fast beat tunes during a workout increases your stamina by releasing these hormones and blocking feelings of pain, so now you know why our live sessions are always so upbeat!
To help you use music to boost your mood consider making a playlist of the songs that make you feel up lifted and happy that you can have on hand whenever you need a little boost.
If you ever feel like your mental health is starting to stop you from regularly engaging with life and the things you would normally enjoy then consider speaking to a health professional that you trust. Mental health does effect all of us at different times and in different ways, don’t be afraid to speak out and ask for help.
McManus S, Bebbington P, Jenkins R, Brugha T. (eds.) (2016). Mental health and wellbeing in England: Adult psychiatric morbidity survey 2014. Leeds: NHS digital.
Karageorghis CI, Priest DL. Music in the exercise domain: a review and synthesis (Part I). Int Rev Sport Exerc Psychol. 2012;5(1):44–66. doi:10.1080/1750984X.2011.631026