The link could be down to emotional eating.
The shows can help people feel happier, reduce negative emotions and alleviate boredom.
The study’s results showed that pet ownership reduced some of the stress of lockdown.
Thought suppression does not work well, but these two techniques can help.
The quote refers to the idea that stressful events might harden the mind, enabling it to withstand future misfortunes.
How the weather affects people’s mental health.
Certain types of gardening provide the biggest boost to happiness.
Gardening is one of the most rewarding daily activities that people can pursue, new research finds.
It makes people at least as happy as other activities commonly linked to high well-being, such as exercise and eating out.
Both home gardeners and community gardeners find it remarkably meaningful, which likely contributes to the mental health boost it provides.
Vegetable gardening, though, provides a bigger boost to happiness compared to ornamental gardening — perhaps because of the extra satisfaction that comes from growing one’s own produce.
Mr Graham Ambrose, the study’s first author, said:
“The high levels of meaningfulness that respondents reported while gardening might be associated with producing one’s own food.
The boost to emotional well-being is comparable to other leisure activities that currently get the lion’s share of infrastructure investment.”
The study included 370 people in the US who reported their emotional well-being during 15 different daily activities.
The results showed that gardening was in the top four happiest activities, along with eating out, walking and biking.
Professor Anu Ramaswami, study co-author, said:
“Many more people garden than we think and it appears that it associates with higher levels of happiness similar to walking and biking.
In the movement to make cities more livable, gardening might be a big part of improving quality-of-life.”
Women and people with lower incomes find gardening particularly pleasurable, the researchers found.
Professor Ramaswami said:
“This has implications for equity in food action planning considering that people with lower incomes tend to have less access to healthy food options.
Gardening could provide the health benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables, promote physical activity, and support emotional well-being, which can reinforce this healthy behavior.”
The study was published in the journal Landscape and Urban Planning (Ambrose et al., 2020).
It can help improve mental health and wellbeing and reduce anxiety.
Even modest reminders of nature can help boost mental health during lockdown, research finds.
Nature can be experienced on a walk close to home, in the back yard or even indoors.
All have been shown to improve mental health and wellbeing and reduce anxiety.
Experiencing nature mindfully can help increase its effect, as can sharing memories of nature, thinking back to natural places that induce calm and sharing these stories with others.
Nature can help stop rumination — thinking about the causes and consequences of depressing events — a process common in depression.
Dr Kathleen Wolf, an expert on the health benefits of nature, said:
“Studies have proven that even the smallest bit of nature—a single tree, a small patch of flowers, a house plant—can generate health benefits.
Look closely in your neighborhood, and the bit of nature you may have taken for granted up until now may become the focus of your attention and help you feel better.”
Over the years, thousands of studies have shown the positive effect of nature on mental health.
As little as 20-minutes of nature can help to reduce stress, one study has found.
Gardens and backyards provide some with access to grass, bird song, leaves and flowers.
For those stuck indoors, though, potted plants or even photos or videos of nature can provide the necessary reminder.
Being mindful is key to getting the most out of nature, said Dr Wolf:
“It’s important to be mindful, commit to the activity and think about your observations while looking at these materials or elements of nature.
That means not merely scrolling through on your computer, but looking at photos or video streams with more intention.
It’s essentially nature-oriented meditation.”
Sharing experiences of nature with others is also powerful, said Dr Wolf:
“Even though we are physically distancing, it’s really important to our health to maintain our social connections.
There is evidence that people who are lonely or who are socially isolated can be prone to poorer health.
Nature might be a means, either by being outside a safe distance from others or by sharing stories with each other, of staying socially connected.”
Exposure to nature helps to stop people ruminating, a process of continuously worrying about the past and the future linked to mental health problems.
Professor Peter Kahn, an expert on environmental sciences, explained:
“In these times, I think our minds can be a little out of control.
Part of the effect of nature is that it can soften negative conditioned mental patterns.
If you can find nature, engage with it and get your heart rate down, then your mind begins to settle.
When your mind isn’t ruminating, it can then open to a wider world, where there’s great beauty and healing.”
The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology (Hunter et al., 2019).
How people feel about the pandemic and what they are doing in response.
Checking in with loved ones is the most popular way to improve mental health during the current COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey finds.
Sixty percent of people are regularly contacting loved ones to help improve their mental health.
Increasing exercise is the second most popular strategy, with 35 percent trying this.
Finally, thirty percent are limiting their consumption of the news and 29 percent are performing acts of kindness for others.
The results come from a survey of 1,055 US adults aged over 18.
It revealed that most Americans thought social distancing would impact mental health if it continued much longer (84 percent).
In addition, 41 percent are worried about increased anxiety as a result of the pandemic.
Dr Dean Aslinia, counselling department chair at the University of Phoenix, said:
“While many people are currently feeling anxiety, there can be several ways to maintain good mental health by making small behavior changes.
Instead of texting or emailing, make a phone call or use video chat to build a more meaningful connection.
Build activity in your day by trying something new or setting a goal for yourself to start a new project.
Remember, it is okay to seek professional help, if your negative feelings persist.
Many mental health practitioners are offering virtual counseling sessions so you can have someone to talk to without leaving the house.”
Other worries people were experiencing included:
- problems paying bills (33 percent),
- reduced salary (26 percent),
- and being out of work (22 percent).
Around two-thirds of respondents said they felt everything was out of control at the moment.
On the other hand, 65 percent reported feeling grateful for their family, friends and health.
Over one-third were optimistic that the country would emerge stronger from the crisis.
Dr Aslinia said:
“It is encouraging to see some people take this time to practice habits that will improve their mental health.
Feelings of anxiety are not solely due to isolation or social distancing.
The everyday choices we make including technology overuse, impersonal interactions and engaging with people that are unhealthy for us, all lead to anxiety.
If something good can come from this pandemic, we can hopefully recognize the need for intentional behaviors that maintain and improve our mental health.”
The survey was commissioned by the University of Phoenix from The Harris Poll.
The second most common medicinal use of cannabis is for mental health problems.