Throughout the hard times that occur in our lives, finding healthy ways to destress, relax, and find enjoyment is critical for maintaining physical and mental wellbeing. The past couple of years has taken a toll on everyone’s well-being, and finding ways to unwind has become more of a challenge. This is especially true in homes where remote work sometimes crashes into remote or hybrid learning.
The challenges we face can build up and overwhelm our body’s defense mechanisms before we are even aware of the issues. However, emotional wellbeing can be a significant factor in overall healthy, so finding mitigation tools and taking time to allow emotional resetting is necessary. In other words, finding healthy diversions is an essential factor in mental wellbeing.
And the correlation of psychological and physical wellbeing is long established in health and psychology. For instance, for some people, being with friends and family is a great way to unwind, laugh, and enjoy oneself. Others enjoy being out in the open air, walking, running, and being active. Whatever it is that you enjoy, that’s what’s important to do for your health, both physical and mental. Finding diversions is as baked-in to our biologies as breathing.
Storytelling As a Form Of Entertainment and Diversion
Ancient cave-dwellers known as the Neandertals drew on cave walls to document and entertain. This easily translates to modern tribespeople telling ghost stories, individuals in big cities or out in the rural communities streaming Netflix, and many others among us finding diversions from the demands of our daily lives is essential for our mental health.
Some people enjoy outdoor activities, others prefer indoor arts and crafts. The specific action isn’t what’s important. Rather, the outlet that those activities allow for is what is crucial to being happier and healthier. The reality is that carrying too much emotion throughout the day can significantly impact your mood and physical well-being. The term “emotional baggage” is a descriptor used to describe a person burdened by things, they are in a state of stress or emotionally hurting.
Over time, these emotions can affect:
- Moods and Emotional Regulation
- Negative Internal Monologues
- Physical Wellbeing
- Energy and Desire
- Relationships With Others
If not dealt with and addressed, these emotions can lead to severe mental and physical health issues. So before the level of distress in the body becomes too much, finding an outlet through activity is essential. As mentioned, for some people, watching sports is a great diversion and outlet. There are benefits to watching sports such as diversion, distraction, enjoyment, bonding, positive emotional (visceral) experiences, and the thrill of the ebb and flow in the game.
Some people may enjoy gaming, whether it’s a daily fantasy team through DraftKings or Fanduel, yet others may enjoy playing sportsbooks either at a casino or a local sportsbook. Additionally, many states allow sports betting. Georgia is one of the most prominent to allow sports betting, but many others are just as accommodating. Conversely, other people enjoy hiking, mountain biking, overnight camping, or surfing.
Turn Off the TV and Social Media
One way to mitigate and lessen the negatives we experience is disconnecting from electronics. Over the years, the industry has learned that people tune in more often and for a longer duration by promoting scintillating and thrilling events, programs, and news. In other words, the shows you watch are designed to keep you in a state of stress to keep watching the show longer so that they can sell more advertising time.
Similarly, social media companies have designed their algorithms to keep users engaged and scrolling. However, the algorithms are designed to agitate (and not to soothe) and entice (not educate) the user. The direct neural-chemical response on the brain is similar to that of a person taking stimulants. The brain releases dopamine to heighten moods and keep the user involved.
The dark side is that disconnect users suffer some similar withdrawal patterns as people who may use recreational drugs. Regardless of the outlet that you choose, finding a safe and healthy one is most important.
Ultimately, regaining your mental and physical wellbeing – especially in light of the experiences of the past couple of years – should be a resolution you make for your overall well-being. And it shouldn’t be only for New Year’s, but it should be one that you follow for the entire year.