Air pollution vs mental health: Tips to boost your emotional wellness amid smog | Health

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi

Increased levels of air pollution can have a profound impact on mental health. Exposure to pollutants, such as fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and toxic gases, can lead to a range of psychological and emotional issues.

Air pollution vs mental health: Tips to boost your psychological, emotional wellness amid smog (File Photo)

According to Dr Jyoti Kapoor, Founder-Director and Senior Psychiatrist at Manasthali, “Prolonged exposure to air pollution has been linked to increased stress, anxiety and depression. Fine particulate matter can penetrate the bloodstream and reach the brain, potentially causing inflammation and oxidative stress, which have been associated with cognitive decline and an elevated risk of mental health disorders.”

She added, “The reduced air quality can lead to a general sense of discomfort and unease, exacerbating pre-existing mental health conditions. Addressing air pollution not only has positive effects on physical health but is also essential for promoting overall well-being and mental clarity in an increasingly urbanized and polluted world.”

Bringing her expertise to the same, Deepti Chandy, Therapist and COO at Anna Chandy and Associates, revealed, “Research shows that pollution is linked to higher levels of stress, cortisol in the blood and also a higher risk for illnesses like Alzheimer’s and dementia. When air pollution is high, it affects our ability to engage in simple activities. They are critical for our well-being, such as going for a walk, cycling, etc. Over the long term, it causes significant issues and also brings on seasonal anxiety, which can make someone feel worse.”

She suggested the following tips which can be helpful in combating with this situation –

  • Avoid exposing yourself to polluted air to the extent possible.
  • Use yogic breathing techniques in good-quality air.
  • Take frequent breaks in places that are less polluted.
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