I’m going to the mountains today; in fact, I might be there by the time you read this.
Of course, this isn’t exactly unusual, given my state is fairly well known for its mountains. I’m sort of always surrounded by mountains, even when I’m grocery shopping. Nevertheless, earlier this week, a friend of mine sent a random text asking if I’d be interested in spending a day in an especially beautiful area of the state a couple of hours away.
“Good. Start inviting some people and we’ll get a plan together.”
As I mentioned above, I’m pretty much always surrounded by mountains; however, it’s been a while since I’ve made a point to actively visit them, even for a simple walk on a trail. Given that, and that fall is my favorite season and my heart is bursting to see the autumn leaves before they drop, today is exciting for me.
Having grown up in the mountains, the mental health benefits of traipsing through the woods is common knowledge for me. Still, I wanted to do a little research for those of you who don’t get to — or haven’t yet decided to — spend some time among the trees. Check out CRC Health’s Why Nature Is Therapeutic and Huffington Post’s Proof That Hiking Makes You Happier and Healthier.
Oh, and don’t forget this week’s Psychology Around the Net selection which includes pieces on why sunshine matters for good mental health, how medication can help ex-prisoners from re-offending, the relationship between poverty and mental illness, and more.
Sunshine Matters a Lot to Mental Health: According to a recent study from Bringham Young University, our mental and emotional health is more affected by the amount of time between sunrise and sunset (or, the amount of sun we actually experience) than by other weather variable such as temperature, rain, and even pollution — and this doesn’t apply just to people who struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
The ‘Face Of Mental Illness’ Campaign Proves It’s A Condition, Not A Halloween Costume: Within last week’s Psychology Around the Net, I included an article about the offensive nature of mixing mental illness (specifically, costumes) with Halloween. Once Halloween rolled around this past Monday, people took to Twitter to show the real face of mental illness (using the #FaceOfMentalIllness hashtag) by posting pictures of themselves — real people who deal with mental illness every day. Did you see, and perhaps participate in, the campaign?
Giving Ex-Prisoners Drugs May Help Stop Them Re-Offending: Mental Health Medication Could Cut Relapse Rates: Researchers found that three classes of medication were effective in reducing the percentages of violent re-offending. Those medications include antipsychotics (linked to a 42% drop), psychostimulants (linked to a 38% drop), and addiction-treatment drugs (linked to a 52% drop).
How To Train These Six Senses Of Happiness: According to Forbes contributor Jessica Hagy, happiness is a “constellation of sensations.” What a simultaneously simple and profound way to describe it! Check out this story to learn how to become more in tune with certain senses including wonder, optimism, accomplishment, and more.
Can Poverty Lead To Mental Illness? “It’s a complex question that is fairly new to science. Despite high rates of both poverty and mental disorders around the world, researchers only started probing the possible links about 25 years ago. Since then, evidence has piled up to make the case that, at the very least, there is a connection. People who live in poverty appear to be at higher risk for mental illnesses.”
ADHD Likely Due to Genes, Not Parenting or Environment: Rather than parenting styles or environmental factors, it seems ADHD is more likely caused by glutamate neurotransmission. “The glutamatergic genes are one of the groups involved [during the study], but they are not the only ones. In the past, we were focusing on variations in the genes for dopamine. We thought that the medicines for ADHD worked on dopamine, but now we have other genes to target,” says Dr. Josephine Elia from the Nemours/Alfred L. du Pont Hospital for Children and the principal investigator during the study.