Between work, worries at home and general anxieties, it can be easy to forget about your mental health. Taking care of ourselves may sometimes end up being our last priority, but making even small changes in your daily routine can produce huge mood-boosting results.
This Suicide Prevention Week, we want our patients and our community to invest into their mental health. We’ve listed a few things that are proven to make people happier and lead generally more satisfied lives.
Short Work Commute
That’s right – your work commute. Research has shown that how you get to and from work significantly impacts your mood and overall mental health. People who spend less time on their commute are happier and more content. But it’s not just about the time you spend on the road.
Those who drive alone to and from work are usually the least happy. If you’re in this group, don’t worry just yet. There are a few things you can do to improve your solo commute like listening to a podcast, carpooling with a colleague that lives nearby, or increasing your mood and knowledge with an audio book.
It’s not just your mental health that takes a beating from your commute – your physical health will start to decline, too.
- Blood sugar rises
- Cholesterol rises
- Chronic back pain over time
- Cardiovascular fitness decreases
- Lower sleep quality
Even those who ride their bikes to work and get to catch the sunshine will eventually feel the same mood decreasing effects. It seems that the best way to remedy this situation is by switching up your routine every couple of months, whether it be catching the train or riding solo with a podcast.
Owning a Dog or Cat
Go ahead, adopt that puppy or kitten you’ve been wanting. Studies show that people with dogs or cats have more satisfaction and contentment in their daily lives. Researchers attribute this to a feeling of being needed by the animal, which gives the owners a sense of purpose. Further, walking dogs or playing with your animals also improves mood.
Similarly to owning a pet, being married gives you a deep-rooted sense of value. You have a spouse and marital duties, like cooking or taking out the trash, to look towards at the end of the day. Having a set routine has been shown to improve mood as it frames your daily chores in a different perspective – you’re not just cleaning for yourself, you’re doing it for your spouse, as well.
Spend Money on Experiences, Not Material Items
You know the dream car you’ve been saving up for? Skipping out on dinners and birthday parties to save a few hundred bucks here and there? Well, turns out it may not be worth it.
Studies show that people who spend more money on going out with friends and family, whether it be watching a movie, going to a theme park or dinner at a decadent restaurant, lead happier, more content lives than those who save for big ticket items for years. We’re definitely not discouraging saving, but maybe we’re suggesting as the saying goes, live a little. It’s for your mental health, after all.
While getting married may not be on the horizon for all of our patients, there are other, smaller changes you can incorporate into your daily routine to improve your mood and mental health. Let us know how you make your commute to work interesting!
For more information about mental illness and suicide, visit here or call 1-800-273-8255 if you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts.
Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on Golden Triangle Emergency Center or any one of our concierge-level, freestanding emergency facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.