Depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems are serious and widespread. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that over 350 million people around the world suffer from anxiety, depression, or other emotional disorder. These numbers around grim ‒ and affect the quality of life not only for the patient but his or her family as well.
The good news is that there are many different ways you can do to improve your mental health apart from medications and therapy (though those are important too!) Some of these lifestyle changes ‒ eating well, resting, controlling your stress, and making sure you have an active social life ‒ are easier to implement than others. One such simple change to help boost your mental health appears to simply take a shower in the morning.
What A Recent Survey Showed
A recent survey was conducted by phone on a thousand women who were asked about their showering habits. Surveyors specifically asked about whether the women showered in the morning or at night. The results were somewhat startling:
- Over 90% of the surveyed women said that if they got up early and took a shower, that this practice positively influenced the rest of their day
- 2/3 of the women who took a.m. showers said it made them feel more relaxed
- 1/2 of those who took a morning shower said it made them feel more attractive
This was just an informal survey and not a scientific study but it did attract people’s attention to the issue of whether showering in the morning can actually help your overall mental and emotional health. Surprisingly, there is some evidence to back up this lifestyle change.
The Science Behind the Survey
There are actually several scientific reasons why the simple act of showering in the morning can set you up for better mental health if you do it on a regular basis.
- Chemical changes in the brain. To begin with, there are some evidences that cold showers can actually affect the chemical structure of your brain and lead to positive changes. For instance, the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine conducted a study where they found that the act of taking a cold shower in the morning changed the chemical levels in the part of the brain which makes noradrenaline to help give a feeling of energy and alertness.
- Boosted energy levels. Fatigue can be one of the most difficult parts of depression to deal with. Cold showers help with that, too! For one thing, it has been shown that these showers help to lower levels of melatonin throughout the body in order to boost sagging energy levels. It also increases blood flow and circulation, which in turn increases oxygen levels in the brain that, in turn, increase mental alertness. Also, the cold water itself hitting the skin can be a stimulant equal to having a cup of coffee in the morning.
- Weight loss. Weight gain and the inability to lose weight can often lead to depression or low self-esteem. However, there does seem to be some evidence that a cold or cool shower in the morning can actually help you lose weight. One Scandinavian study, for instance, found that when the body was exposed to brief period of cold temperatures in the morning (the way it would be if you took a cold shower), that this stimulated the body’s metabolism and made it easier to burn fat and lose extra weight, to the tune of about 9 extra pounds a year. That can add up when you are trying to lose excess pounds.
So give it a try today! Morning showering is an easy habit to get into, does not require any money or special equipment or preparation and it can actually help improve your mental/emotional health and from there your overall quality of life. Little lifestyle changes like this one can, in the long run, led to large and positive impacts such as the health improvements discussed above.