It’s fair to say that we’ve all experienced an increase in anxiety, stress and maybe even depression over the past few years. Lock downs. Lack of supplies. Loss of jobs and therefore loss of income. Life has certainly been challenging and not what any of us thought we would ever experience in the age of information.
How do you manage your mental health when times are difficult? How have you managed your mental health over the past few years? Are you still feeling the effects from these abnormal and stressful times?
Movement is essential for the well-being of our physical bodies. Our bodies are designed to move. Movement is essential for the well-being of our mental health. Finding ways to move that suit you and your lifestyle are integral towards managing good mental health.
And here’s why.
Physical movement increases the heart rate which increases blood flow. This in turn increases the supply of oxygen to the brain. Additionally, when we exercise, the body releases hormones such as dopamine which make us feel good, serotonin which helps balance our mood, and nor-epinephrine which has a direct impact on our perception and motivation. While our body is producing feel good chemicals, the brain is removing those that make us feel stressed or anxious. Therefore, physical movement releases stress and negative emotions.
Exercise produces protein in the body that builds and repairs muscles. In the same way, protein released through exercise builds and repairs cells in the brain called neurons. Neurons are essential to a healthy brain and good mental health.
Physical movement doesn’t have to be costly if you don’t want it to be. If the gym is what keeps you motivated, fantastic! If you prefer the privacy of your home, be it for time management or simply because it’s easier, that’s great too! The point is there is so much choice as to how you can move. In the very least, get out and go for a walk. Be outside and allow your senses to take over. Enjoy what you see. Enjoy what you hear. Enjoy what you smell. Your brain will thank you for it.
Choose wisely. Live vibrantly.
Photo by David Hofmann on Unsplash