Life has been challenging for many of us and this has impacted our wellbeing and mental health.
With that in mind, Saturday 24 July 2021 is Stress Down Day at Lifeline – a day dedicated to lightening up, having fun and enjoying the moment. It is a good initiative to help us to kick start a focused wellbeing experience that is do-able, simple, and practical.
(Remember: For the best results in health and self-care, consistency is key, just like daily habits of taking a shower or cleaning teeth)
Before we get into some practices let us have a look at an element of biology. Did you know the warmth you feel from a long hug is caused by an entirely different chemical sensation than the high you feel after a long run or bike ride?
Your D.O.S.E. of Happy chemicals
In her book, Meet Your Happy Chemicals, Loretta G Breuning PhD discusses that for us to maintain levels of healthy happiness, de-stress and ultimately build our resiliency muscle, it is helpful to understand the chemical interactions within our brain. Our ‘happy chemicals’ work for us in very specific ways. Here is a DOSE of four Happy Chemicals to consider in choosing your de-stressing and wellbeing experiences:
- Dopamine: A motivating high towards a goal – it is the ‘I’ve got this’ optimism feeling
- Oxytocin: Sense of connection, belonging, deep love and trust
- Serotonin: Sense of pride, loyalty, status, appreciation, accomplishment, recognition
- Endorphins: feelings of euphoria (and a natural pain killer)
Which one of the above would you like more of?
Here are some activities to enjoy for Stress Down Day (and beyond) that can boost your happy chemicals. (And if you are in lockdown or quarantine don’t let that get in your way).
- Play a game, board game, sports game, or create one for you and others to share and be in the moment
- Enjoy belly laughs: watch a favourite comedy
- Set some small goals to start and finish a project you’ve wanted to do
- Get some movement in by walking, or taking a bike ride in nature
- Get creative in the kitchen
- Choose a topic and share with others a story of the funniest moment (for example while travelling, at a restaurant etc)
- Connect with others who have a shared interest by joining or start a group (online or in person) with an optimistic, fun theme
- Declutter and feel lighter/freer. Choose an item to bin, donate or sell Perhaps an item that has outworn its usefulness or gives you a bad feeling. Free yourself from it. Remember your trash is someone else’s treasure. Only have items that bring you joy and are useful for now
- Lift someone else’s serotonin by letting them know how much you appreciate them
- Reach out to someone who might need your support (and to let them know you are thinking of them)
- Put some music on that you love and enjoy. Singing is a great way to be present and connect to emotions and mood
- Have some fun with filters (from apps such as Snapchat or Instagram) and share your photos to help make other people have a laugh and lighten up
- Take time out for yourself in whatever way you enjoy and benefit from.
Or you could do what Lifeline suggests with their stress down and dress up day. The link is here https://wa.lifeline.org.au/get-involved/individual/campaigns-and-events/stress-down-dress-up-wa/
Also check out our courses specially designed for you to take charge of your health and wellbeing here: https://www.ati-mirage.com.au/wellness/
What’s On at ATI-Mirage?
The team at ATI-Mirage are participating in Lifeline’s Stress Down Day the day before on Friday 23rd July, and will raise some money for Lifeline WA. Stay tuned for the photos on our Facebook and LinkedIn.
Blog written by Wendy Wilson, ATI-Mirage’s Lead Consultant PD and Wellness