Many people are experts at remembering troubling events, but can only remember a few happy events. So that poses the question, when we do remember happy events, do those memories inspire us to be happy?
While appreciating one's blessings is an important part of a well balanced lifestyle, those blessings are only a component of ongoing satisfaction. Yes, positive self-talk stamps out complaining, but thinking positively about the past is not enough to trigger feelings of joy.
To feel good today, we have to engage our bodies and our minds simultaneously.
According to a study by the University College London released in early 2020, sedentary behavior is linked to an increased risk of depression in adolescents, even if thoughts are OK.
The study's lead author writes "... young people who are inactive for large proportions of the day ... face a greater risk of depression by age 18.." They continued by saying that "it's not just more intense forms of activities that are good for our mental health, but any degree of physical activity that can reduce the time we spend sitting down is likely to be beneficial."
Other studies concur that sedentary behavior triggers depression, even if some exercise is involved. The problem is not whether someone is fit or goes for periodic walks, but whether that person passively sits for long periods of time between periods of exercise.
If your life seems dull, even though all else is good, determine whether you are sitting for too long.
If you are sitting for long periods, start adding activities that require movement (even knitting requires movement). Identifying the activities you like best might require research, but after you identify them, immediately add them to your life.
Look for activities that are mentally and physically engaging. If you can't think of what to do, review the suggestions in the article named "150+ Hobby Ideas Broken Down by Interest and Personality."
If that article doesn't provide the answers you need, Google the question "Ideas for Hobbies at Home" for more suggestions.
After giving all these suggestions a lot of thought, start by getting up and doing a little dance, just to get your body moving. You'll be surprised at how much just that slight bit of motion will lift your mood.
Follow that short dance by becoming more active. At the same time, think about the nice experiences you've had in the past now coupled with these new-found activities. Not only will your body feel better, your expectations that you'll experience increased happiness and pleasure will grow, too.
Sitting still linked to increased risk of depression in adolescents, reported by ScienceDaily. February 2020.
Even With Exercise, Sedentary Lifestyle Has Consequences for Mental Health, by Krystal Jagoo in an August 25, 2021, post for VeryWellMind.com
150+ Hobby Ideas Broken Down by Interest and Personality, published on October 2019 by Hobbylark.com
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Written by Karen Little of Sketch-Views
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