Improving Your Mood Through Exercise
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Mandy Atkinson, MBACP Accredited Counsellor, RGN, PGCE, FHEA
14th November, 20120 Comments
So, you know you suffer from low moods. Perhaps you suffer from anxiety or depression. Experiencing these feelings can be overwhelming. You really want to know what you can do to help yourself improve your moods naturally. What can you do to help yourself?
Fact: Taking regular exercise benefits emotional health. It helps us to relax; it reduces the tension in our muscles and increases body temperature and so reduces the level of cortisol in our bodies, reducing the level of stress we experience.
So, OK, you understand that exercise can help – but what exercise can you do and how should you approach exercise? Start by thinking about what exercise you enjoy. It is important to do something you enjoy doing and are happy to do as part of a regular activity plan. Perhaps you have always loved swimming, or you love country walks, or even cycling. The exercise you do also needs to match your age and level of ability. Walking briskly would be good form of exercise. This is also something that can be integrated into your daily routine. Having planned what exercise to do, think about when you will do it. If you can, exercise earlier in the day. Most importantly though, plan to exercise regularly; if you can, daily. Set yourself realistic goals as part of your exercise plan. Start with say 20 minutes of exercise daily, and build it up from there. When you have regular exercise in place, ad hoc exercise can be added in as well.
Notice how you feel emotionally, and within your body before and after exercising.
Fact: When you exercise, endorphins are realised by your body which enhance your moods and the pleasure that you feel – naturally. And the more you exercise the more endorphins you will release, and the more energy you will have. Both physical and mental energy, so you’ll think better, too!
So take charge and have a go at doing some regular exercise and see how you feel. Go for it! There’s nothing to lose and so much to gain! You’ll feel great once you make a start!
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