Springtime and the science to feeling good 25 August 2022 With spring well and truly here, it’s time to shed the winter layers, embrace the lighter mornings and look forward to warmer (but not too hot) weather. It’s also a great time to revisit your wellbeing goals. The warmer weather and longer days are a wonderful incentive to make sure you use your opportunity to get outside, be more active and exercise. Here are my top three tips on how to take advantage of what spring has to offer. Write down all of the things you love about spring When you engage with the things you love, your brain instantly releases hormones that make you feel happy. This chemical cocktail is made up of endorphin, serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine. These are often referred to as our feel-good chemicals and they do wonderful things for our wellbeing. If you can get these chemicals floating around in your blood stream on a more regular and consistent basis then you will feel more optimistic, more creative, more productive, less stressed and in a much better position to manage your diabetes. Can I encourage you to think about what you love most about spring and what activities spring promotes to get you leading a healthier lifestyle? For example, I love the lighter mornings. This means it takes much less effort for me to get out of bed and go for a walk or do my strength training. I feel safer, more energised and I actually look forward to my morning workout. Another thing I love about spring is the Jacaranda trees. How amazing is the purple carpet that covers the ground and the blaze of purple that lines many of our streets? They’re just another reminder of the gifts at our fingertips when we venture outdoors in the spring time. Capitalise on spring produce There is nothing better than eating food that’s in season. It’s fresher, tastes better, sweeter, is perfectly ripe and more nutritious. Some of my favourite spring produce includes avocados, berries and bananas. You will often find me swapping butter on my toast with avocado or making up a batch of banana pancakes, topped with berries and yoghurt for breakfast. What are your favourite spring foods? Make a list and then research what meals you could make that incorporate these foods. By doing this you’ll eat healthier, and increase your wellbeing. Unclutter your life I’m a big believer in less is better. You will often find me doing a spring clean all year round, but there is no time better than doing it in spring. For some reason the start of spring makes me feel like I want to get rid of all of the layers, to throw off the doona, to open my house up and get rid of the clutter. When I get rid of clutter, I feel lighter, more expansive and less stressed. Spring cleaning may not be your thing, but hear me out because it does have many benefits. Research has shown that by reorganising and freeing up space you can increase your mental sharpness and decision-making skills. It’s also a great stress reliever and can help reduce feelings of anxiety. If you’re open to giving it a go, start off by choosing one room in your house that you think would benefit from a declutter. Go through each drawer, each cupboard, each space and make three piles. One for throwing away, one for giving away and one for keeping. Don’t be alarmed by the mess. Sometimes you have to make more mess to create less mess! If this room is successful move on to the next one. Once you have your room uncluttered and reorganised you may find that candles, fresh linens, a new picture or some positive notes could create a more peaceful and relaxing space. Uncluttering your home is a wonderful way to lift your spirits and increase your wellbeing. Approach spring with a fresh pair of eyes and as Mark Twain said “… throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream. Discover”. Yours in health and happiness. Claire Massingham Happiness Consultant This article has been updated from the original published in 2021.