Good mental health: 6 ways to make spring the season of hope
Mental Health

Good mental health: 6 ways to make spring the season of hope

Spring is sprung, and with it comes longer days, bright sunshine, blooming flowers and, just maybe, a fresh dose of hope.  

The birds begin to sing, you throw open the windows, feel the warm sun on your face and take in a deep breath of fresh air. Whether you consider yourself to be a winter or summer person, there’s nothing quite like a bright spring morning.

Spring brings with it the promise of fresh starts. As new flowers bloom and days grow longer, it’s hard not to feel a surge of positivity in the spring – and let’s face it, this year, we could all use a heavy dose of that.

Many of us have been struggling in the first few months of 2022. A UCL study showed that levels of depression spiked in December 2021, while happiness and life satisfaction dipped dramatically. 

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Of course, we don’t need to read a survey to sense that there’s a certain air of discontent hanging over us these days. Whether you’re getting sick of endless waves of new Covid variants or you’re feeling deflated by the stream of worrying headlines in the news, it seems we all need some extra help finding a positive outlook.

And while finding a glimmer of hope may often feel impossible, sometimes hope can be found in the simplest places. According to philosopher Susanna Newsonen in Psychology Today, enjoying the joys of spring is a great place to start.

Go on a walk through nature 

Immersing yourself in nature can help you to see the world from a more pure, simplified perspective. “It’s healing, it’s calming, and it’s good for the soul,” Newsonen writes. “It’s a reason to hope for a brighter future.”

By observing the natural cycle of rebirth in nature, you might just remember that nothing stays the same for long, and if you’re hoping for a change in your life, it might be just around the corner.

And not only does walking in nature help remind you that the future is full of possibility, it can also help you fight off depression and anxiety. One 2015 study even found that a 90-minute walk in nature could reduce rumination and improve mental health.

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Soak up the sun 

Did you know that simply feeling the sun on your skin can do wonders for your outlook? “Sunshine boosts your serotonin levels naturally – so let it! You’ll end up feeling energised, more positive and full of contentment,” notes Newsonen.

Getting some rays is particularly good for us after a long, dark winter – especially if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Try a diet of seasonal fruits and vegetables 

Get in touch with nature by incorporating local, seasonal fruit and veg into your diet. Making this small change to your meals won’t just provide you with the vital nutrients you need to feel energetic and healthy, it will also give you a sense of connection with the changing seasons. Mindful eating can give you a sense of purpose, which quickly translates into hopefulness for the future.

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Set intentions 

Want to feel more positive about what’s coming next? Take control of your future by making some active choices about what you want from it. “As nature shifts gears, so can you,” writes Newsonen. “It’s the perfect time to set new intentions that set the right tone for your life.”

Having a clear set of intentions and goals will help you feel like your days have purpose and like you’re moving forwards – just like the changing seasons around you.

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Try your hand at gardening 

If you can’t get out into nature, why not bring nature to you. If you have a garden, spend some time tending to your plants. If you live in a home without a garden, try nurturing some potted plants in your home.

Tending your own plants will give you the opportunity to observe their small changes from day to day. “This is when you turn nurturing it into a mindful activity and will feel calmer and more grounded as a result,” Newsonen writes. You’ll be amazed after a few months when you realise that your plant has grown dozens of new leaves. As Newsonen puts it: “You will feel like anything is possible.”

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Put a skip in your step

Ok, bear with us – while it may feel a little silly at first, try skipping. Studies have shown that performing ‘happy’ movements can lead to experiencing happy emotions. The light, staccato movement will trick your mind into feeling light and positive, too. In other words, the mind follows where the body leads.

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Images: Getty