We often completely dismiss the profound connection that exists between the physical and the emotional in. Yet when it comes to any variety of emotional struggles that we are having, it is often best to first look to the physical.  This allows one to cancel out any possible physical effects on our emotional states.

            If you have not had a recent physical, that is often a great first step.  Next it is important to look at your sleep, diet and exercise.  Those three areas are of equal importance, but the one that seems to have the most immediate impact is exercise, especially for those struggling with depression.  However, recently it has been shown that strenuous exercise can also greatly impact struggles with panic attacks and ADHD.

            Exercise releases neurotransmitters called endorphins which are very powerful natural pain and stress relievers.  Exercise can have some of the most profound effects for those struggling with depression because endorphins act as an immediate natural anti-depressant.  However, the problem is that most who are struggling with depression lack the motivation to work out.  That is why it is essential to have someone to exercise with.  Creating a team through finding an exercise partner is essential just as creating community in all areas of your life is essential.  It is especially important in building exercise into your everyday life because there are many times that we need someone to push us on as we lose desire or motivation.

            We encourage people to exercise 4-5 times a week.  Exercise needs to consist of some form of cardiovascular activity (jump rope, run, brisk walk, swim, bike, elliptical, or stair climbing) for a minimum of 20 minutes.  In addition to this, it is very helpful to do a set sit-ups/pushups three times a day.  These can be done whether at work, home, traveling, etc.  Weight lifting can be helpful, but is not necessary if one is faithfully doing the other exercises previously mentioned.

            Consider your reasons for exercising this next week.  Look at how they can greatly benefit your emotional state.  Exercise will likely not completely transform your emotional state, but it is a great start and is something that you can start today.  If you should have any questions about exercise benefits for mental health or any other mental health concern, please feel free to contact us at www.olivercounseling.com.