Mental Health Awareness Day 10th October
21st September 2018
Many people pound the pavement or hit the gym to improve their cardiovascular health and build muscle, but working out has above-the-neck benefits too. One of the most common mental health benefits of exercise is stress relief. Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment, relieving tension and stress and boosting your physical and mental energy, therefore enhancing your well-being through the release of endorphins. Anything that gets you moving can help, but you’ll get a bigger benefit if you pay attention instead of zoning out.
Exercise is a powerful depression fighter for several reasons. Promoting lots of changes in the brain, exercise releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that energise your spirits and make you feel good. Serving as a distraction, exercise allows you to find some quiet time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed depression.
How to get started when suffering from anxiety or depression
It’s hard to become motivated at the best of times, but suffering with anxiety and depression can rob you of the energy you need to exercise, or your social anxiety means you can’t bear the thought of being seen at an exercise class or going for a run – so where do you start?
It’s smart to start small
Set yourself an achievable goal and go from there. You will feel more despondent if you set yourself extravagant goals and then fall short.
Schedule your workout when your energy is the highest
If depression or anxiety has you feeling unmotivated and tired all day long, try small steps like going for a walk or dancing to some music in your living room. A short, 15 minute walk will help improve your mood, clear your mind and boost your energy level. You will start to experience a greater sense of control over your well-being as you move.
A healthy diet can go along way
It is reported by the Mental Health Foundation that nearly two thirds of those who do not report daily mental health problems eat fresh fruit or fruit juice every day, compared with less than half of those who do report daily mental health problems.
Having a balanced diet can help develop a balanced mood. This can include eating an adequate amount of complex carbohydrates, essential fats, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and water.
Remember to take a break every now and again
A change of scenery or a change of pace can make a massive difference to your mental health. It could be as little as a five-minute pause from a workout, a slightly longer lunch break at work or spending the weekend somewhere new to temporarily block out the same occurring negative patterns in your mental health. Always have time for some ‘me time’.
Always ask for help
None of us are superhuman, and there will be a large number of people in your position. We all get overwhelmed and unhappy with life, so don’t forget that you’re not alone. Ask for help if things are getting on top of you, your friends and family will be able to listen and offer practical help. Local services are in place to help you.