About the Series
Have you felt overwhelmed lately? Maybe a little depressed, too? If so, Relationship Helpers is here to help.
If you are joining us for the first time, WELCOME! Today’s podcast episode is the seventh in a ten-part series on one hundred and one activities you can do to improve your mood. We have divided the activities into ten different categories: (activities) involving God, exercise, slowing down, fun, animals and nature, socializing, aesthetics, creating and learning, touch and smell, and helping.
If you are feeling depressed, please reference episode 53 “How Discouragement Leads to Depression”. In that episode we go into detail about how depression is diagnosed. We discuss the difference between dysthymia and potentially life-threatening Major Depression.
A Major Depressive Episode is a serious matter and should be treated by a medical/mental health professional. Today’s tips work to supplement any ongoing treatment, but do not serve as a “cure-all.”
Aesthetics (Appreciating Beauty)
We will focus today on what makes life beautiful—aesthetics. When we are in a funk or a bad mood, it seems like we miss the good that is right in front of us. We hope today’s episode serves as a reminder of some things you can enjoy that God has created.
In Psalm 65: 5-8, David paints a picture about God with words describing His creation. “By awesome deeds You answer us in righteousness, O God of our salvation, You who are the trust of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea; 6Who establishes the mountains by His strength, Being girded with might; Who stills the roaring of the seas, The roaring of their waves, And the tumult of the peoples.They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs; You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.”
I don’t know about you, but when I read that, I feel like I can “see” that. When you see a beautiful sunset, do you think of God? Where does your mind go?
Each week we have been examining our activities through the lens of Philippians 4: 8, thinking on things true, noble, just, pure, lovely and of good report.
Which of these activities would you like to try first?
13. Listen to your favorite music. When you listen to music you enjoy, your body reacts. Your blood flow increases, stress-related hormones like cortisol decrease and your pain eases. A 2016 study showed that both music and meditation improved the mood of older adults suffering from mental decline.
14. Go to a play or musical. Going to the theatre gives you the opportunity to explore your feelings in a different way. Some shows deal with deep sensitive issues while others help you to laugh and relax you. When you are enjoying a play or musical, you are not enjoying it alone and in the complete dark, but you are enjoying it with a crowd of other people. This sharing of an experience helps to enhance your well-being.
16. Get up early and watch a sunrise. Taking the time to relax and watch a sunrise can really is a good way to reset your mind. You can take your mind off of all the busy things and focus on the natural aesthetics of nature. When you appreciate beauty, your spirits are lifted.
21. Read a classic novel. Reading can help you get perspective. Your mind is activated more and you learn more about your state of mind. As you learn more about how you think, then you can learn to change your behavior as well.
62. Listen to a concert. A study from the Royal College of Music in London has shown that live concerts can actually reduce stress and anxiety.
More Activities That Include Aesthetics
73. Photograph nature or some interesting cityscape or people. Photography motivates you to get outside and interact with people or nature. It is a way of expressing yourself without using words.
98. Visit an art museum. Art museums provide positive distractions, have a calming-effect, decreases anxiety, increases optimism, and leads to a reduced sense of social isolation.
23. Go on a train ride. A 2013 study shows that travel prevents dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, especially in retirees. On a train, you have time to admire the beauty of the landscape. Taking a vacation, even a short one, brings many health benefits.
42. Visit a car museum. A 2011 study from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology shows that visiting museums can lower the risk of anxiety and depression in men. Museums reduce stress and have a greater impact on well-being as playing sports do.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19: 1 describes finding God in what we can see. He is so creative. He gave us our senses to be able to experience His creations in many different ways.
We hope today you will feel encouraged to seek out some of these healthy, beneficial ways to engage your senses, to calm your mind and to see God’s handiwork.