Things are tough for us all now in lockdown. Life has been hard for many different reasons. Some of us have experienced illness – mental and physical. Many of us are worried about friends and family we cannot see. Others have had the stress of losing jobs or being furloughed from work they enjoyed.
A group of public heath experts recently wrote in the British Medical Journal that “the mental health impact of the pandemic is likely to last much longer than the physical health impact.”
The lack of certainty is hard and it is taking a bit of a toll on most of us. There is scientific evidence that the prolonged nature of the pandemic has depleted our natural reserves of “bounce-back” and left even the most positive of people feeling less than their best. When I speak to my clients and friends, I know that people are feeling less motivated, a bit low, frustrated or angry or just generally a bit “urgh…”
I feel just like you! so last year in the first lockdown, I started to look seriously at things that we could do to give us a shot of the brain chemicals or hormones that help us to feel better – even if the external circumstances stay exactly the same.
There are 4 main chemicals that can help us out – Serotonin – Our natural mood stabiliser. Many anti-depressants make us more able to use the serotonin that our body produces – so these tips will hopefully act like a mini mood lifter. Oxytocin – sometimes called the hug hormone. This makes us feel affection for ourselves and others, Dopamine – our reward chemical which we release when we get a treat (which some highly illegal drugs cause us to release so great there is a way to get the hit without getting locked up!) and endorphins – these are natures natural painkillers and when they are released we feel a boost of energy!
The great news is that if we are low on these chemicals because of external circumstances – things that life throws at us that are often out of our control – there are some simple things we can do to force our bodies and brains to release an extra shot!
So that’s what we want to do – give you some simple, easy things to do which give you a free shot of a feel good chemical!
So myself and my neuroscientist friend Iain are going to collect 52 tips – Quick ways to give you a fast shot of one or more of these chemicals – and report on them weekly on our Instagram live TV sessions. We are doing one per week, every week this year.
The idea isn’t that you necessarily do all of the 52, instead we are hoping that because of the variety of ideas, one or two of them will appeal to you – and be easy to integrate into your real life.
We’d also like the project to be really collaborative – so if you trial a tip and it either works or doesn’t work for you, we’d love to hear your story. We’d also love you to share the tips – and spread the word so that as many people as possible around you can have a little bit extra of a helpful hormone at a tough time.
Maybe you will end up integrating tips 3 and 14 because they work for you, but you also share tip 1 and 26 with your Mum or a friend and they find they really work for them.
We want to have a bit of fun with this too so we are encouraging you to either PLAY (try the tip each week) PASS (send it on to a friend) or if you really want to avoid a top tip completely, we are suggesting you drop the guilt about trying it and just PAY a POUND to our charity instead. This is the Big Issue Foundation who are currently trying to help their vendors survive and plan their lives, given that the small amount of income they earn ,sometimes under the most fragile of circumstances, has been really hit because none of us are out and about.
So we hope you will join us!
We’d also love to hear about any tips you swear by – we will check out the science and if it’s proven to work we might well feature it.
Find out more at The52Project. Com where we will put out a weekly blog, or tune in live or watch our Instagram TV’s later by following It’s Not Bloody Rocket Science on Instagram.
Tune in here for episode 1! We start by explaining that even though starting some new habits is positively proven to be good for you, your brain might try to resist…
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To keep it simple, we will do a blog for each of The52 so that it is easy or you to share them. Every blog will follow the same pattern to keep it simple.
The Big Idea (in a nutshell)
We will describe the tip and how to do it – as quickly and simply as we can!
Got It!…What’s the Science?!
We will let you know what science or research exists to help explain why the tip works. We will keep the science simple. In our experience, knowing that the tip comes from a reputable source and why something actually works means you are more likely to invest time in trying it.
Note – we won’t be including tips that your mate from down the pub swears by – unless we can find some science to back it up!!
Real stories from real people who have tried the tip so far. Some may swear by it too. But this section is all about balance. We will include people who didn’t like the tip, or adapted it to suit their lives. It’s all about making the tips real and giving you ideas for using them in real life
Read More and Share
Links for further reading or watching – so that you can find out more, or share the science with your friends, family or colleagues
On balance, based on the science and based on the Tales from our Testers, how does this tip stack up? Is it a keeper?
We will share the latest statistics – who has tried the tip and how they rated it.