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Exercise has long been used to promote positive mental health functioning. It is a health behavior that not everyone makes time for because the idea of exercise typically follows the mindset of needing to lose weight. Yet, studies have shown that movement does so much more for the body and the mind. To begin, exercise stimulates circulation and proper digestion. When proper digestion occurs, the gut doesn’t build up with toxins and proper hormone and chemical production and absorption can occur. This allows for an improvement in mental health via the gut-brain axis as we talked about in Part 2 of this series.
But is that all that the only role that exercise has in mental health?
Regular physical exercise to combat depression and anxiety.
Individuals who practice regular exercise have reported less stress (due to the reduction in the production of cortisol) as well as a decrease in negative behaviors, such as anxiety and depression. research shows that exercising and increasing the heart rate on a regular basis produces more neurochemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, GABA, and endocannabinoids. All which promote feelings of happiness and reduce anxiety and depression. Strenuous movements also reduces muscle tension and regulates areas in the brain which send off signals of threats to the body; triggering anxiety.  Researchers, through testing, have concluded that exercise compares in a favorable manner to the use of antidepressants for the majority of individuals.  Making regular physical exercise an affordable integration for treating anxiety and depression.
Begin implementing physical exercise into your weekly routine for different types of physical exercise. To increase your enjoyment, start out by doing things that you enjoy, then slowly add more rigorous activities such as jogging, weight lifting, pilates, or yoga. By educating yourself on the power of physical exercise and the mind, rather than the typical focus of those impact on the body, you may be more inclined to partake in regular physical exercise. We may be able to see a decrease in the rising statistics of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
You Have Options
Through simple holistic therapies, we can find patterns that aid society’s mental health struggles; specifically anxiety, depression, and stress management. By use of nutrition, energy work, and exercise you can begin to heal from your struggles with anxiety & depression as well as help your loved ones overcome their struggles. Healing doesn’t have to be hard when you have the right tools and a good community to support and assist you on your healing journey. If western medical treatments with prescription medications and behavoiral therapy have you feeling like there could be other ways to help your mental health healing process, reach out. Because you can heal yourself!
You are not alone!
Sometimes, tackling the journey alone is difficult. It isn’t always easy to make lifestyle changes, especially when suffering from a mental illness. Researchers say that it takes 21 days before a behavior becomes a habit. In those 21 days, it can be difficult for some to stay motivated and stay on track. However, I have begun compiling a list of resources that may benefit you on your road to mental healing.
Nicole Shaw is a wonderful lifestyle coach focusing on a positive mindset, nutritional coaching, and live group fitness training. The best part about her workouts is that they are for every skill level and are completed in the comfort of your home. She is a certified fitness and nutritional coach who also offers one on one nutritional and life coaching at an affordable rate.
This is probably my most valuable resource. However, it is not in my community. Rather it is an online resource/ wellness coaching. She is a functional wellness coach who strictly focuses on healing and improving health by healing the gut. The gut-brain axis is the main focus and she really knows her stuff. Although the information here is not scholarly, I can utilize the information here as a basis for my own research for scholarly sources. I am always recommending this group to my friends and think the population I am targeting will find great benefit here as well.
Here you will find helpful tips in every area of holistic health, wellness, and living. The aim of this community is to help you take charge of your wellness journey by means of holistic, yet realistic, tools and techniques. Mental health and a positive mindset are a weekly topic and every discussion has your wellness in mind.
1- Carek, P. J., Laibstain, S. E., & Carek, S. M. (2011). Exercise for the treatment of depression and anxiety. International journal of psychiatry in medicine, 41(1), 15–28. https://doi.org/10.2190/PM.41.1.c
2- Ratey, J. (October, 2019). Can exercise help treat anxiety? Harvard Health Publishing.