(Mental) Health is Wealth
Prioritizing one’s mental well-being is one of the extremely crucial realities underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic. The seemingly unending months spent in quarantine made everyone realize the need to reset mental focus ASAP.
The past year was quite a rollercoaster of events that smothered salt on old and new psychological wounds. Some people had to endure a prolonged period apart from their loved ones, while others were stuck in a toxic home environment. Millions of families lost their loved ones to the deadly virus.
The road to improving one’s mental health and overall well-being is 90% hard work and commitment. Hard work in the literal sense that you need to embrace lifestyle changes to be more physically fit. A well-exercised body is integral in nourishing your mind. You must commit yourself to adopt healthier habits that involve your diet, physical activities, stress management, and coping mechanisms, as well as your thought patterns.
That said, exercising is a great place to start. The positive effects of exercising on your physical body are carried over to your internal well-being.
How Exercise Affects Your Mental Health
The lack of interest in your hobbies, incapability to focus on your tasks, and even recurring physiological ailments are some of the biggest signs that you need to destress. Overworking your body, getting insufficient rest, and avoiding physical activities are all toxic lifestyles.
With proper exercise, however, your body undergoes just the right amount of strain and action that propels your body to function more efficiently. You get to use the energy in your body and ‘awaken’ your senses.
To help you picture better how exercising positively influences your overall health, check out the multiple benefits of exercising and physical fitness to your mental health:
Boosts Brain Power
Your brain works tirelessly 24/7 to ensure your entire system is well-energized to take on your daily tasks. When you exercise, you are aiding your body in producing new brain cells. This process is called neurogenesis. The more new brain cells are reproduced, the more you sharpen your memory, energize your brain, and assimilate new information quickly and clearly.
Soothes Stress and Tension
Whenever you feel too anxious or overwhelmed by your thoughts and emotions, your body reacts either by tensing the muscles, causing discomfort in your digestive system, or palpitating. Bottling up your emotions for a prolonged period can indeed be detrimental to your overall health. Jogging, lifting weights, and yoga all provide you with a healthier channel to express built-up stress and tension in your body. By exerting your body, you are also helping your mind clear away all unnecessary and unhealthy thought processes. It triggers your brain to produce more endorphins and ease the tension and stress in your system.
Supports Improved Self-Image
Speaking of endorphins, this so-called, ‘natural pain killer’ and ‘feel-good’ chemical in your brain is also instrumental in improving your self-esteem. The more you fuel your mind and body to perform well, the more you experience positive side effects later on. Since a higher level of endorphins is released into your brain and body, you will notice an improvement in your moods. At the same time, your physique will also improve, which consequently boosts your self-image and confidence.
Promotes Healthy Sleeping Patterns
If you are having difficulty sleeping, yoga and moderate aerobic exercise at least 30 minutes before you sleep should do the trick. Yoga and aerobics help ease your body and prepare it for deep sleep. Deep sleep is highly beneficial for your brain because it gives it ample time to replenish and recharge.
Builds Body Resilience
Have you noticed how individuals with inactive daily routines have a weaker pain tolerance and are more susceptible to illnesses? That is because their mind and body lack the right kind of stimulation to function harmoniously and optimally. Regular exercise boosts your body’s stamina. In return, you are better able to handle physical stress and pain. If you are a female, you might surprise yourself one day that you are capable of exercising on your period!
Fuels Your Mind & Body for the Day
Do you find it hard to get a jumpstart and stay alert in the morning? Sometimes, all you need is a good round of jogging, jumping jacks, and stretching to signal your brain that it is time to get working. Fight the urge to extend your sleep for another five minutes the moment you wake up. Instead, force yourself to get up and get movin’! Otherwise, sleeping excessively will only make you feel more tired and disoriented.
Helps Individuals Living with Mental Illnesses
Psychiatrists do not just prescribe medication. They also encourage their patients to take on an exercise regimen. In truth, physical activities effectively enhance a person’s mood and brain performance. It is one of the best and most proactive ways to help people living with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and even ADHD improve their psychological well-being.
There is an old saying that goes, ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’. Indeed, if you feel drained, exhausted, or pushed over the edge, there is not much that you can offer to the people who matter to you. You can’t spread love if your feelings are already beaten up from excessive pain. You will struggle to build and maintain connections if you have not made peace with the internal struggles you have kept within yourself.
In contrast, knowing when to pause and make time for yourself makes a huge difference. You do not feel overwhelmed by the events taking place in your surroundings. You are not easily swayed by external triggers and influences. You become more attuned with what your body needs. Over time, you become more capable of providing a source of love, hope, and acceptance to those around you.