Whenever I’m feeling out of sorts, something that always gets me back on track is a walk outside. I am able to just think, get my blood pumping, listen to the birds chirping and feel a sense of accomplishment. Physical activity is something that has always been important to me but has fallen to the wayside lately for whatever reason, and because of that, I have noticed a distinctive change in my mood. I have been feeling less energized, tense and a lot more stressed. So it just made sense that for this issue of 302Health—our Mental Health issue—that we discuss the effect exercise has on your mood. Check out writer Kim Hoey’s intriguing story.
Studies suggest that there are other ways people can boost their mood (besides medication). Food plays an important role in how someone feels, as well. (Perhaps that is where the term ‘comfort food’ originated?) Writer Pam George discusses the relationship between our diet and mental health and shares the types of foods we should add (or remove) from our shopping cart in her story.
But if adding more exercise to your already hectic routine or altering your diet sounds overwhelming, there is a practice that has become increasingly popular among big corporations, hospitals and even universities. This practice is called mindfulness, a state of active, open attention on the present. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to your current experience, rather than dwelling on the past or anticipating the future. At Christiana Care, meditation training—along with yoga and tai chi—is part of the resources available at its Center for Provider Wellbeing, a companywide effort aimed at preventing burnout among doctors and other caregivers faced with agonizing life-and-death matters. Even children as young as 5 are getting a daily dose of mindfulness—at Carrcroft Elementary, students partake in “mindful moments” throughout the day. Do you think this rudimentary practice could bring some calm to your frenzied life? Decide for yourself after you read writer Eric Ruth’s story.
We hope this issue of 302Health offers you some helpful tips on how to stay physically—and mentally—healthy. If you have some of your own secrets to staying healthy, we would love to hear them. Please send them my way via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Danielle Bouchat-Friedman • Editor of 302Health