[Guest author - Sarah Counter, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist with Outlook South West]
We all know that exercise is good for us, research shows that physical activity can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing the chances of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. However sometimes it can be hard to engage in mainstream exercise for various reasons such as illness and as such we can find ourselves inactive with reduced mobility which can have a significant impact on mood.
Therefore, it can be helpful to think about what we call ‘antidepressant behaviours’ – these are things that have a positive effect on mood and can boost activity. As you may have noticed recently there has been surge in ‘mindfulness coloring in books for adults’ these may be classed as a therapeutic activity and hence has an antidepressant affect. Research also shows that knitting and other forms of crafting such as crocheting and sewing also have a similar affect to mindfulness and meditation.
Neuroscientists have been studying the benefits of creative activities and have explored the benefits of a range of creative activities such as cooking, baking, drawing, art, photography, writing and puzzles. Like exercise, engaging in creative tasks makes our brains release dopamine which is a natural anti-depressant. Scientists believe that there is a link between creative activities and the reduction of cognitive impairment that often occurs as a result ageing but can also be a symptom of depression as we may experience symptoms associated with reduced concentration and fatigue.
Research has also demonstrated that the art of creative practice has a positive impact on depression, anxiety, increases coping skills whilst significantly reducing stress. By triggering the relaxation response, we reduce blood pressure, lower the heart rate and prevent stress related illnesses.
For help with depression or anxiety contact Outlook South West on 01208 871905 or self-refer online - [HERE]