Have you ever noticed how you start to feel more depressed or anxious after you have been laying around all day? Sometimes, our bodies need to take time to rest and do nothing. However, there needs to be a balance. If you haven’t been active all day and your mind is idle, you may start to get restless, making it easier for you to ruminate or cling to negative thought patterns. Once you step outside and start moving, you’ll start to feel lighter with each step you take. Movement gets more oxygen flowing to the brain, giving you an enormous sense of well being. Here is how exercise benefits your mental health:
Movement promotes the production of new brain cells
When you get your blood pumping with movement, it encourages oxygen to flow quickly and freely to the brain, which creates new brain cells. On top of that, exercise triggers the neurotransmitters serotonin and endorphins, which are responsible for those feelings of peace, happiness, and overall well being. When your body moves, so does your brain, which then boosts cognitive function and helps creative ideas flow.
It improves your meditation practice
When you are exercising, it’s difficult to think of anything but what you are doing at the moment. IYou are only concentrating on your body’s movements. Sometimes, our brains can become consumed with excess energy that turns into anxiety or depression. In meditation, we are also focusing on the body, noticing how our emotions impact our physical state. It’s important to make a point to shed this excessive energy with exercise, and focusing your attention on moving your body for just thirty minutes a day can help you feel calmer, more energized, clear, focused, and optimistic.
Movement reduces stress
When we exercise, our bodies release cortisol, which is the hormone responsible for stress and anxiety. Because movement emulates the impact stress has on our bodies, making our hearts race and our bodies sweat and shake, it allows us to practice working through the effects anxiety has on our body.
Movement calms the mind and body
After moving your body by doing yoga,running, fast walking, or playing your favorite sport, you will notice that your mind and body feel calmer and more relaxed. This is because you were able to put your full attention on your body’s movements. You have no choice but to do this when you’re exercising, because you’re so focused on the sensations you’re experiencing in the body. Because you’re able to practice putting your focus and attention on one thing at a time, you can take that experience into your everyday life and learn to complete your tasks with a sense of calmness, clarity, and focus.
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Alli Cravener is a social media coordinator and writer who is passionate about connecting people through words. Alli studied English at Arizona State University and has found her niche uniting concept and content in the realm of mental health and the expressive arts. Alli’s interests include painting, history, learning about other people, and wearing the color pink. She likens herself to a “mouse in a palm tree”, and she loves it that way.