When we are feeling down, we tend to reduce our activity levels, have trouble sleeping and eating, and think negative thoughts. Negative, heavy feelings can continue to the point where we lack the energy and motivation to go to work or get together with friends as we find it hard to see the point of doing anything at all. This state is familiar to those who suffer from depression.
We often underestimate the extent to which exercise and activity can help us feel better by:
- Increasing our self-image and self-esteem
- Increasing our energy levels
- Increasing our motivation to engage in activity
- Increasing our ability to concentrate and put things into perspective
- Helping us to distance ourselves from whatever is distressing us so when we return to it, we are more able to cope
- Giving us a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment
- Stimulating our body’s production of natural anti-depressants (e.g. endorphins)
- Improving our dietary and sleeping patterns
Exercise for Health: Getting Started
If we engage in physical activity, we are more likely to feel a sense of accomplishment, enjoyment, and connection to others. To achieve this result, schedule activities which can help you fulfil these needs. It may be helpful to start small and build up to more strenuous activities so that you keep your goals realistic and thereby increase the chances of success.
If you need help addressing fears that keep you from getting active or finding your motivation to make lifestyle changes, you can get help from a therapist. Therapy can be brief and deal with specific issues that bother you or a more open-ended process, based on your needs. Contact the Montreal Therapy Centre to access a qualified counsellor, psychotherapist or psychologist.