BLUES BUSTERS

FROM FRESH AIR AND SUN­SHINE TO MED­I­TA­TION, BOOST­ING YOUR FEEL-GOOD FAC­TOR CAN BE AS SIM­PLE AS FOL­LOW­ING TH­ESE FOUR STEPS

The Queensland Times - - WEEKEND - WORDS: HE­LEN HAWKES He­len Hawkes is a health coach and coun­sel­lor

Per­haps it’s our fast-paced world. Maybe it’s the time we spend on­line in­stead of in hu­man in­ter­ac­tions. But rates of anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion are ris­ing all over the world.

It Aus­tralia, in any one year, one mil­lion adults have de­pres­sion and more than two mil­lion have anx­i­ety.

While your GP can ad­vise on treat­ment, in­clud­ing med­i­ca­tion, be­yond­blue says reg­u­lar phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity is a good way to help pre­vent or man­age mild anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion.

Here are some other ways you can shore up your stock­pile of feel-good chem­i­cals and in­crease your re­silience:

GET UP, GET OUT

When you go for a run, do a Zumba class, or take a box­ing les­son, you re­lease en­dor­phins that boost your mood.

Reg­u­lar ex­er­cise – at least 30 min­utes of moder­ate ac­tiv­ity most days of the week — also im­proves sleep­ing pat­terns and in­creases your en­ergy.

With Fit­bit Versa’s smart watch, you can get on-screen work­outs, track your ac­tiv­ity or get post-work­out sum­maries of your ex­er­cise rou­tine.

Find­ing an ex­er­cise buddy or join­ing an ex­er­cise class is an­other way to stay mo­ti­vated.

Re­search shows that ex­pos­ing your lungs to fresh air, and the scents of flow­ers and plants, can help to re­lieve stress and anx­i­ety so ex­er­cise out­doors when­ever you can.

FOOD FIXES

Nu­mer­ous stud­ies have shown a link be­tween omega-3 fatty acids – found in fish, nuts and seeds and flaxseed oil — and a lower rate of de­pres­sion. How­ever, it’s im­por­tant to note that the way ev­ery­one re­sponds to foods is dif­fer­ent.

What med­i­cal ex­perts know for sure: a healthy diet is im­por­tant to main­tain­ing over­all well­be­ing.

If you’re con­fused by all the choices, fol­low a Mediter­ranean ap­proach – plenty of fruits and veg­eta­bles, fish, nuts, legumes and olive oil and a lit­tle lean meat.

STRESS LESS

Chronic stress can be a risk fac­tor in anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion, so con­trol­ling your lev­els is key.

Be­sides a change in at­ti­tude, you can add a re­lax­ation rou­tine to your day.

This could be a sim­ple breath­ing ex­er­cise (your Fit­bit Versa can help), a tai chi or yoga class, or a mind­ful­ness or med­i­ta­tion ex­er­cise or app.

The more you prac­tice, the more re­laxed you’ll be­come.

That’s good news for your phys­i­cal health too be­cause when you’re in the “calm zone” your body is able to rest and re­pair.

EN­JOY SWEET DREAMS

Proper sleep is cru­cial to mood, im­mune func­tion and re­ju­ve­na­tion.

Make sure you get it by re­lax­ing be­fore you go to bed, not drink­ing al­co­hol or cof­fee too close to turn­ing in, en­sur­ing you have com­fort­able pil­lows and bed li­nen, and deal­ing with wor­ries be­fore you call it quits for the night (a jour­nal or a friend can help).

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