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23

Stressed? Take a Step Outside

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
yellow flowers with a view of mountains outside
Spending time outside can greatly reduce stress levels and improve physical health. #outdoors #healthyliving #mentalhealth

Life is stressful. For most people, the term ‘stressful’ is a major understatement to say the least. From work to studying to being home with kids or whatever your day consists of, it’s often tough to relax. Taking a moment out of your day to step outside and enjoy nature can ease some of that!

Here is a look into what happens in your body when you are in natural spaces:

  • Lowered cortisol levels – when your cortisol levels are constantly raging, like in periods of high stress, there is more risk for depression/anxiety, weight gain, trouble focusing, and issues with your heart
  • Lower blood pressure – the fresh air and view of nature help in keeping your heart and mind healthy
  • Better sleep – spending time outside helps people not only get a deeper sleep, but sleep longer through the night
  • Improved immune system – being outside exposes your body to a wide variety of healthy bacteria that work to improve your bodies natural defenses
  • Increased exercise – people are more likely to get moving when they spend time outside whether that is walking/biking/swimming/etc which is always great for you as a whole

There are many ways that immersing yourself in nature can get you that much needed break! Not sure where to start? Walk through a local park on your lunch break. Maybe go for a bike ride with a friend. Even having a view of natural environments or plants in your house can make a difference!

It’s time get serious about caring for the bodies we live in every day. Take that step outside and enjoy the warm summer weather that is just around the corner! (But don’t forget your sunscreen!)

Want to learn more? Click here.

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16

Mental Health IS Health

Posted by Collaborative Counseling
Growing Plant Symbolizing Hope for Depression

When we think of being healthy, often it is physical health that comes to mind. Too often, we put our mental health on the back burner in life.  However, our mental and physical health are one in the same. It’s what we call the mind-body connection.

What is the Mind-Body Connection?

According to the University of Minnesota, the mind-body connection refers to the relationship between our attitudes, thoughts, feelings and actions and our biological functioning. Basically, our minds can affect how healthy our bodies are and vice versa. This affect can be negative or positive. It is important to note that when talking about the mind, we are not referring to the brain. Rather, the mind is made up of our mental states which can be both conscious and unconscious and include thoughts, feelings, emotions. A perfect example of the mind-body connection is anxiety. When we are anxious our body releases stress hormones which affect our overall biological functioning. For example, some people report that when they are anxious they experience tension in their shoulders, back or abdomen.

How to Strengthen Your Mind-Body Connection

There are several ways to promote a healthy mind-body connection. Self-care activities such as exercise, yoga, and meditation can promote a healthy body which in turn, promotes a mental state. There are several different therapies that also emphasize the mind-body connection and can help to promote a healthy mental state which encourages a healthy body. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based therapies and art therapy.

Try to incorporate some time for intentional movement in your day. This can be as small as a walk on your lunch break or using an app to help you meditate for a few minutes a day. Being aware of our thoughts, attitudes and feelings as well as taking the time to take care of and move our bodies is key to a positive mind-body connection.

To learn more about the mind-body connection visit: https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/what-is-the-mind-body-connection

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