Running
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In recent times, a noticeable trend has emerged: an increasing number of individuals have turned to running as a means of coping with the challenges brought about by the pandemic. While this surge in physical activity is undoubtedly beneficial, it’s essential to acknowledge that some people may perceive even the simplest act of running as daunting. For them, the mere thought of getting out of bed can feel as arduous as scaling Mount Everest. So, how can we help individuals who struggle with such challenges find solace in movement?

Picture this scenario: the jarring sound of the alarm clock shatters the tranquility of a dream where the sun’s rays bathe you in warmth, and you dance freely, unencumbered by worry. But alas, reality hits like a ton of bricks, with depression weighing heavily and anxiety casting doubt at every turn. For many individuals, each movement feels akin to conquering insurmountable obstacles, whether it’s something as seemingly trivial as drawing back the curtains, rising from bed, or donning shoes to venture outside, feeling the crispness of the air against their skin. However, what they may not realize is that these seemingly small actions, regardless of the effort required, are victories in their own right. Each step taken serves as a testament to their resilience, reminding them that they are not merely confined to their beds but rather sentient beings capable of action.

And in these cases, we realize that sometimes that’s all it takes to start climbing that mental mountain, one small step at a time.

 

Tiny Victories

 

How does moving help your mental health?

We all know the saying “exercise is good for you”, but the benefits extend far beyond physical fitness. Here’s how even small movements can help your mental health:

  1. Reduced Stress and Anxiety: Whenever you do physical activity, it triggers your body to release endorphins, a natural mood elevator that combats stress and anxiety. Aside from that, any kind of movement can serve as a distraction from negative thoughts and worries, allowing you to focus on the present moment and positive thoughts.

  2. Improved Mood and Self-Esteem: According to studies, exercise increases levels of serotonin and dopamine; these are the neurotransmitters that are associated with mood regulation and feelings of happiness. And with this, small movements can provide a sense of accomplishment that will boost your self-esteem and confidence.

  3. Provides Better Sleep: Have you heard of “healthy fatigue”? This is what you feel after extensive exercise. And because of this healthy fatigue, your sleep quality is improved, meaning there are fewer sleep disturbances because of the fatigue. Other than that, since exercise can also reduce your stress and anxiety, this results in better sleep.

  4. Improved Cognitive Function: Studies suggest that regular physical activity can enhance memory, focus, and cognitive function. How? Because of the good blood flow (resulted from exercise) that delivers all the nutrients your body needs.

  5. Stress Management: Aside from the mood elevators that exercise or any movement provides, it can also be a healthy outlet for processing emotions and managing stress in a constructive way. For example, if ever you feel like you can’t control your anger, you can go run for a mile.

 

Remember: Sometimes the best thing you can do for your mental health is move your body.

 

It is important to remember that a simple movement can have a positive impact on your emotional well-being. And at most times, the best thing you can do for your mental health is move your body. It might not feel like climbing Mount Everest, but even a small victory like walking to the end of the driveway can be a giant leap for your mood.

It doesn’t have to be an intense workout session. It’s about finding what feels good for you, whether it’s dancing to your favorite music, doing some gentle yoga stretches, or taking a walk in nature. The key is to get your body going and interrupt the cycle of negativity.

So, the next time you’re feeling down, don’t underestimate the power of movement. Even a small step forward can lead you down a brighter path toward mental well-being.

If you need additional help, do not hesitate to reach out. Your therapist can help you explore areas where you don’t have the motivation to move.

If you know a friend or a family member who is having a hard time moving, share this article with them on social media; they may find it helpful.

How has moving helped you? Leave a comment below!

 

References:
https://www.insidehook.com/running/running-increase-pandemic-drawbacks

https://lifesciences.byu.edu/how-exercise-affects-your-brain

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8743094/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/