If you suffer from anxiety you may be looking for additional ways to lower your stress and anxiety in addition to traditional treatments. This is where research can be helpful. In this post we are going to take a look at the findings of three studies depicting non-prescription ways to decrease anxiety and improve your overall mental health.
• Participating in community cultural activities is associated with improved mood and lower anxiety.
Science Daily reports on a new study which shows that attending or being a part of cultural events is good for your mental health. Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology examined data collected from over 50,000 study subjects who gave information about their participation in various community and cultural events. They found that there is a significant association between participating in and attending cultural events with good health, low rates of anxiety and depression, and an overall satisfaction with life.
This study has recently been published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
What sorts of activities are we talking about? The possibilities are endless. It can mean going to see a play, viewing an art show, or listening to a choir at your church. Active participation in community events can also be of great benefit to your mental health such as volunteering at your place of worship, joining a theater group, or creating crafts for a community festival. So what is stopping you? Get out there and get involved in your community. It might make a difference in your overall mental health.
• Want a quick way to decrease your stress and anxiety which is free and doesn’t involve prescription drugs? It is called exercise.
I am sure you have already heard this a million times but we are going to say it again. Exercise is not only great for improving your physical health; it is also a fast acting remedy for lowering stress and anxiety. Exercise is a quick way of boosting your mood. There is no waiting involved and it is free. In addition, there is much research to substantiate the benefits of exercise for your mood.
Jasper Smits, the director of the Anxiety Research and Treatment Program at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and Michael Otto, a psychology professor at Boston University, teamed up to analyze the many studies showing a positive association between exercise and improved mental health. In a 2010 e! Science News article researcher Smits was quoted as saying, “For patients with anxiety disorders, exercise reduces their fears of fear and related bodily sensations such as a racing heart and rapid breathing."
These researchers are emphasizing the immediate benefits of exercise upon your mood. They say it only takes 25-30 minutes to begin feeling good now. The problem with exercise for many people, including myself, is getting motivated to begin. If you need an extra boost of inspiration to get going with an exercise routine, please visit Health Central’s Diet and Exercise site.
• Getting your spouse or partner to help out with the housework may reduce your after-work stress.
Sometimes science simply validates what we already know. You have had a hard day at work, you come home, and want to de-stress and unwind. But you have more work to do at home, namely housework. Having to devote lots of time to housework keeps that stress level up and doesn’t allow you to relax in the evening. In a recent Medical News Today article, a study was cited where researchers found that whichever spouse spent more time on housework tended to have higher evening cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone, which can keep us feeling stressed out and unable to unwind.
I am going to let you guess which gender usually spends more time on housework regardless of putting a full day of work. Just saying! As a matter of fact, the cited study published in the April issue of the Journal of Family Psychology showed that the activity most pursued by women after work was housework while the most frequent after work activity for men was leisure. Now here is their amazing conclusion: “Wives whose husbands helped out a lot with housework had faster recovery in the evening from higher cortisol levels.” Imagine that. The problem is that men also suffer from those high stress levels if they are not getting their leisure time after work.
So what is the answer? It seems a balance of dividing up the household chores can help so that one partner is not always the one who is overly stressed. This sounds like a plan. For those of you who may need that extra leverage in getting your mate to help out more at home, science is on your side.
This research goes to show that there are many tools in our arsenal to combat stress and anxiety. Research is coming up with new ideas all the time in how you can create a more peaceful lifestyle. We will continue to provide you with the latest research news on anxiety so that you can make informed choices on things you can do to reduce the stress from your daily life. Every little bit counts.
We appreciate any feedback you give as to which methods, treatments, or lifestyle changes have made the most difference in your recovery from anxiety. Don’t hesitate to share your story. We are listening!
Published On: May 31, 2011