Mental health has had a growing focus placed on it thanks to a gradually increasing understanding of its importance to our wellbeing. Various treatments such as medication and therapies are available to help those struggling with their mental health. However, sometime a change in lifestyle can also an effective alternative to prescribed treatment. One of the changes that could help is taking up a group activity. But why might this beneficial to mental wellbeing?
It Provides the Support of Others
By regularly attending a group activity it can provide a much-needed support network of people during bouts of depression and anxiety. Feelings such as these are some of the most prevalent mental health issues and they can often cause the person struggling with them to isolate themselves socially and emotionally, further exacerbating the issue. By making a group activity part of your routine it can help take some of the burden of these feelings off a person’s shoulders. Furthermore, by attending the same group activity on a regular basis, social relationships can be formed. The familiarity of seeing the same people can help reduce the initial anxiety of social interaction as there are less unknown quantities. Additionally, as the closeness of the friendships increases, it can help encourage a person to remove themselves from isolation as they look forward to seeing good friends. This provides a sense of belonging that we all crave.
There’s No Pressure or Expectation
Something of an extension of the support network that group activities provide is that there’s no pressure to act a certain way or discuss the difficulties a person may be having with mental health. In dedicated therapy session – group or solo – the need to always put focus on the condition can be a barrier for many people seeking help. However, by making the group about something else this barrier is removed and the pressure reduced. Additionally, as the friendships become stronger the opportunity to discuss any difficulties a persona may be having may happen more organically. The trust that develops over time can lead to a person opening up about mental health issues without feeling like they’ve been pushed into revealing something they didn’t want to. This can also be helpful to self-confidence as they brought it up by their own accord.
The Activity Itself Can Improve Mental Health
In many cases the activity itself can be beneficial to helping a person’s mental health due to the physiological response of your body when doing it. For example, activities such as singing or sport release endorphins into the brain that can help lift a person’s mood. The ‘high’ that people get from this is then something they want to experience again and become regular attendees. This then becomes a more consistent source of positivity, stifles negative feelings, and helps mental health in the long run and could be seen as more effective than masking the problem with medication.