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Taking Your Brain 'On A Date' Can Help With Stress And Anxiety

We take our bodies to a day spa, but where do we take our brains?

24/08/2016 5:20 PM AEST | Updated August 24, 2016 17:22
Getty Images/Ikon Images
When you think about it, it's pretty simple. Setting aside a short amount of time to do something that makes you happy for the sake of your mental health.

You'd be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't love a going to a day spa. Maybe it's the mood lighting, the big fluffy robe, or Enya playing ambiently in the background. Probably all three. And it's that premise -- that a relaxing environment creates a sense of contentment -- that Perth's first ever 'brain wellness spa' is based on.

"What we do is actually help people get into their emotional potential," Terri Bowman, creator and owner of The Brain Wellness Spa told The Huffington Post Australia.

"When people come and see us they are generally unhappy, miserable, worried, negative, depressed or anxious. They're often the common emotions people feel when their lives are overwhelming. So what we have to do is teach them how to be happy again, and a way to do that is to take your brain out on a date."

Simon Watson
Sure, spa treatments are nice, but when was the last time you set aside time for your brain, not your body?

"In our brain spa we work to turn on the happy hormones in the brain so clients are able to switch off from their world or worries. We don't allow phones in the spa and the mood of the environment is very calming. We find that some clients come to us as opposed to traditional therapy as they don't like a clinical environment that feels like they are there because they are damaged or broken. Clients want to feel nurtured and loved," Bowman said.

The good news is you don't have to go to a spa or clinic to take your brain 'on a date' -- it's as simple as scheduling time to do an activity that stimulates your senses. Let's call a spade a spade -- it's about prioritising your mental well being, though the term 'brain date' helps to visualise blocking out a chuck of time that would otherwise slip by. You lock in time to go to the gym for your body, so why not set aside time for your brain, too? Those who meditate know the benefits, but a 'brain date' might be easier for beginners.

"Because your senses are connected to your emotions, your senses stimulate your feelings and that effects your thoughts and thinking process. If you've been in a situation where you've been stressed, overwhelmed or anxious your senses start to feel discounted from all the enjoyment of life. What we have to do is stimulate the senses again," Bowman said.

So what does it mean to take your brain out on a date?

"It can be as simple as watching a sunset with a loved one or a friend, having a picnic, or fish and chips on the beach. What that does is stimulate your senses to elevate the happy hormones in your brain."

Gallo Images - Hougaard Malan.
Watching a sunrise or sunset -- even if it's not as spectacular as this one -- can stimulate happy hormones.

When you think about it, it's pretty simple. Setting aside a short amount of time to do something that makes you happy for the sake of your mental health. When was the last time you prioritised your emotions?

"A 'brain date' could involve going into a coffee shop that has a good vibe that makes you feel positive. If you're anxious and overwhelmed but can't leave the house a brain date might be watching a favourite movie that makes you feel good," Bowman said.

"It might be catching up with a buddy and going for a walk. Or even try saying good morning to strangers -- it's the old concept of reaching out and connecting, it automatically makes you feel good. It has got to be something that stimulates your senses."

"We should be having a brain date at least three to four times per week. Because stress dictates our level of happiness so if we have more stress in our brains than what we have happiness, we have to consciously, just like going to the gym, make it a priority," Bowman said.

Start small by marking two 'brain dates' in your diary in the next week, and don't cancel them, even when the calendar fills up with other commitments. We dare you.

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