Finding your happy place!

LET’S TALK:    Finding your ‘happy place’

Often in todays’ society we struggle to find the right balance in our stressful lives. Where it be finding the right work balance to even getting on top of our mental health. This can be often influenced by our lifestyle behaviours where it be negative behaviours such as stress, poor sleep to positive behaviours such as exercise and healthy eating. A recent study of the roles of negative and positive lifestyle behaviours found compelling evidence exists of the role of negative lifestyle behaviours on the incidence of chronic pain.These negative lifestyles behaviours can often be influence the way we feel and effect our ability to get become healthier.1 As such it a way to tackle these behaviours is helped by finding our happy place.

“So what are you on about?”

In order to influence these behaviours, we need to find that place. It needs to be something where you can dedicate yourself the time to switch off from what you are doing, focus all your energy on yourself and allowing yourself the time to think and be yourself with no expectations. Block out a 10-30 minutes from your weekly schedule to allow your body to recover, allows your nervous system to switch off and allow you body to focus on itself. The biggest thing is being comfortable to relax and be aware of your own body and how you feel.

Another pivotal part of this process is sometimes working on or influencing those behaviours and tried to replicate those positive lifestyles behaviours. Here are some studies that look to give you an insight into the benefits of doing these activities and how they can lead you to that ‘happy place’.

Exercise and the effects of decreasing stress

A met-analyses of data was collected involving all the studies of stress and exercise and it was found that  Exercise significantly decreased anxiety symptoms more than control conditions, with a moderate effect size. 2 As you know the benefits of exercise affecting stress and anxiety is high, exercise also plays a big role in allowing us to focus on our body and find that happy place through the hormones that are released in our body when we exercise.

Meditation

A meta-analysis of 42 RCT studies of the effects of mediation found that over 8 weeks that the meditation programs had moderate evidence of improved anxiety, depression and pain.3 This shows that mediation like exercise has similar effect of allowing to affect some of those negative behaviours and play a major role in finding our happy place.

Listening to music

Even though there not as strong studies to showcase the effects of listening to music and pain. A recent study of patients with fibromyalgia, a condition where there are strong amounts of pain was found that that music listening increased perceived control over pain, especially when the music was positive in valence and when it was listened to for the reason of ‘relaxation’.4 This study illustrates the positive effects that using an activity like this and placing yourself in the happy place can influence these lifestyle behaviours.

My Perspective:

From the picture above this is one many places where I can switch off. For myself it is during these runs that I can focus on my thoughts, my own body and be aware of my week and what has been going on around me. It enables to refocus on what is important and be aware of how my body is and most importantly, how my mind is.

Written by Dr Matthew Franz Osteopath at City Osteopathy

  1. Dean E, Söderlund A. What is the role of lifestyle behaviour change associated with non-communicable disease risk in managing musculoskeletal health conditions with special reference to chronic pain?. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 2015;16(1):85 – 87.
  2. Goyal M, Singh S, Sibinga E, Gould N, Rowland-Seymour A, Sharma R et al. Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Akupunktur. 2014;57(3):26-27.
  3. Linnemann A, Kappert M, Fischer S, Doerr J, Strahler J, Nater U. The effects of music listening on pain and stress in the daily life of patients with fibromyalgia syndrome. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 2015;9(2).
  4. Stubbs B, Vancampfort D, Rosenbaum S, Firth J, Cosco T, Veronese N et al. An examination of the anxiolytic effects of exercise for people with anxiety and stress-related disorders: A meta-analysis. Psychiatry Research. 2017;249:102-108.
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