With a change in season, people often experience a change in their vulnerability to negative emotions. Being that there are many things outside of our control as it relates to stuff that impacts our mood (traffic, news, and weather just to name a few), it is important that we put as much effort as possible into establishing a lifestyle that increases our tolerance of negative emotions. Often when we make lifestyle changes that positively impact our emotional health; they have the added benefit of being good for our physical health as well.
One of the primary things within our control that can be beneficial to our mood is our eating habits. It is understandable that people tend to try to change their mood via what they eat. For instance, if someone is feeling sluggish, they might eat something with a high level of sugar to increase their energy level. Unfortunately, food items high in sugar tend to only work in the short-term and often increase feelings of sluggishness in the long run. It is best to try to eat a wide variety of foods that are nutritionally balanced if we want our eating habits to be a positive influence on our mood. Furthermore, many of the precursors of neurotransmitters that impact mood (serotonin, norepinephrine) are found in simple proteins, so incorporating them into your diet will also provide long-term benefits to your emotional health.
Another important aspect of our lifestyle that we can change to improve our emotional health is physical exercise. Being that the human body was designed to be active; a lack of exercise can adversely impact one’s mood. Typically, 30 minutes of physical activity a day can decrease anxiety and increase feelings of calmness. Exercises such as walking, jogging, and aerobics would nurture the optimal changes in our heart rate that would provide emotional benefits.
Finally, the quality of our sleep is an important element of our emotional health. Our bodies need time to recuperate and it is recommended that adults get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. When we do not get adequate sleep, our tolerance for negative emotions depletes. Although, we can control what time we try to go to sleep and our nightly routines, it is sometimes hard to control the quality of our sleep. If you suffer from a medical condition such as sleep apnea, do yourself a favor and work with a medical professional to address this issue so that you can ensure quality sleep. Some things that are within our control that could positively impact the quality of our sleep would be: avoiding caffeine or other stimulants before bed, adjusting your sleep environment to allow for better relaxation, and going to bed at the same time every night.
Within the context of the DBT Skills Group provided at Specialized Therapy Associates, patients are encouraged to make lifestyle changes to reduce their susceptibility to negative emotions. As a means for achieving this goal, it is suggested that people explore their eating habits, sleeping patterns, and the amount of physical activity. Furthermore, incorporating these changes into your daily routine can be a valuable asset in the quality of your physical health as well as your mental health.
Should you have any interest in enrolling in our DBT Skills Group to combat Negative Emotions, please call our intake specialists today at 201-488-6678 for more information or to schedule an appointment.