Here’s a mental health workout that’s as simple as ABC (The Conversation):
“While we take physical workouts very seriously, there is much less said about the “workouts” that help us remain mentally agile and healthy. But just as with physical health, there are simple and practical ways that can help everyone to enjoy good mental health.
… By building on research into what people can do to improve their mental health, we have developed an “ABC” model that can be easily adopted in everyday life. Known as “Act-Belong-Commit”, the approach promotes keeping active, building stronger relationships with friends, family and community groups, and committing to hobbies, challenges and meaningful causes … By encouraging people to follow these principles, as well as collaborating with community groups that offer activities and opportunities for social participation, the method – currently implemented in Australia and Denmark – seeks to bring about long-term benefits to mental health in populations.”
The protective properties of Act-Belong-Commit indicators against incident depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairment among older Irish adults: Findings from a prospective community-based study (Experimental Gerontology). From the abstract:
- The Act-Belong-Commit campaign is the world’s first comprehensive, population-wide, community-based program designed to promote mental health. The campaign targets individuals to engage in mentally healthy activities, while at the same time, encouraging community organizations that offer such activities, to increase participation in their activities. Using nationally-representative data from Ireland, the aim of this study was to prospectively assess the association between indicators of the Act-Belong-Commit behavioral domains and incident depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairment…The adjusted model showed that each increase in the number of social/recreational activities (Act) inversely predicted the onset of depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairment. The same was the case for social network integration (Belong); that is, being well integrated into social networks was a significant protective factor against all mental health outcomes. Finally, frequency of participation in social/recreational activities (Commit) significantly and inversely predicted the onset of depression and anxiety, while the protective effect against cognitive impairment was only marginally significant.