Statistics taken from the Mental Health Foundation have found that one in six adults experienced a common mental health problem in 2016, such as anxiety or depression, while one in five adults had considered taking their own lives at some point. Before anything, it is important to define what is meant by “anxiety” and “depression”.
The Charity Anxiety UK states that anxiety is ‘a normal response to stress or danger and is often called the “fight or flight” response. This process involves adrenalin being quickly pumped through the body enabling it to cope with whatever catastrophe may come its way. The problems arise when this response is out of proportion to the actual danger of the situation, or indeed is generated when there is no danger present.’ The symptoms of anxiety can be physical and psychological and include shortness of breath, nausea, tremors, inner tension and irritability, among other factors.
Depression, according to mentalhealth.org, is ‘a common mental health problem that causes people to experience low mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration.’ Although the symptoms vary from person to person, there is always a general feeling of sadness and/ or hopelessness.
While it may not be something easy to do; as to someone suffering from depression even normal things like getting out of bed can seem very difficult, different studies backed up by research and clinical trials have concluded that taking up a hobby can effectively help. These activities vary, but some examples are listed below.
COOKING: This is good because apart from feeling like you have done something for yourself, you can achieve something that people suffering depression often stop doing, namely eat healthily and take care of themselves.
EXERCISING: Any type of physical activity, whether it be swimming, hiking or a casual stroll is good for you. Feel-good chemicals can be boosted in your brain by these activities.
WRITING: This can be therapeutic and it does not just have to be writing about how you feel. You can write short stories and opinion articles, even if you do not share them. But doing so may make you feel better, as you see people enjoying your work.
GARDENING: Sticking your hands into the soil has been scientifically proven to release serotonin, with the lack of this being related to depression. It also gives you a sense of responsibility, because you have to follow watering schedules, for example.
PHOTOGRAPHING: Grabbing a camera and hitting the outdoors forces you to look for the beautiful things in life. It forces you to find things that are appealing and things that other people will like. This process of finding beautiful things in life can help you to learn a lot about yourself and really shift your perspective about the world.
PRAYING: New research carried out by the McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, has found out that faith can significantly improve treatment for people suffering from mental health problems. After following 159 patients for over a year, researchers found that those who believed in God were more likely to respond to treatment. David Rosmarin, instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical, added that belief was associated with a decrease in depression and intention to self-harm.
As mentioned before, activities vary and can be anything you feel good about. As such, here at the Universal Church, we offer people daily sessions and meetings that will keep their minds on something else that is positive and reinvigorating. Check our full timetable, as well as our addresses to find your nearest branch. But if you need to talk to someone urgently, you can call our 24-hour Helpline on 020 7686 6000, where there will be someone available for a chat.