Lifestyles and Mental Wellness – 3: Relieve stress and anxiety through exercise

Lifestyles and Mental Wellness – 3: Relieve stress and anxiety through exercise

The kind of stress that one faces today is very different from what had affected previous generations. Stress, if not taken care of in the initial stage, tends to spiral out of control, resulting in a major crisis. Extreme levels of stress can cause unrelenting anxiousness, increasing the risk of various mental health problems.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), nearly 32 percent Americans seek treatment for extreme levels of stress. Daily stress is an inescapable feature of life. Still, it becomes necessary to adopt methods that would help relieve the strain and pressure affecting one’s mental health.

Primary care physicians recommend therapies, along with medications, to help patients cope with the rising stress levels. Visits to professionals are advised in extreme cases, but the surge in stress levels can be countered by regular physical activity. Sedentary lifestyle is closely related to unhappiness, stress and depression and exercise has been seen as an important part of our lifestyle. Light aerobic exercise has been endorsed by experts for its positive impact on mental health.

Exercise helps in countering stress

It is important to take care of unrelieved stress due to its detrimental effects on both physiological and psychological health. Including exercise in daily routine helps in countering the stress response while allowing the affected to stay in an upbeat mood.

Exercise does not necessarily mean getting into strenuous routines. Light physical activity like brisk walking, cycling, swimming or jogging can help ease symptoms of anxiety or depression while managing the level of mood swings. Other activities, like gardening, car wash, moving around the block, can also help the mind and aid in controlling mood swings.

Exercise helps mind keep off negative thoughts

Prior researches studying the link between exercise and adequate mental health have not been able to pinpoint at the exact nature of the causative relationship. But findings have indicated a positive correlation between the two.

Setting goals for exercise and then adhering to the same go a long way in boosting self-confidence and helping one keep in good shape. This automatically makes one feel good about oneself. Exercise also helps the mind keep off negative thoughts and worries that fuel emotions of anxiety and depression.

Social interaction during exercise has positive effect

Doctors advise depressed people against confining themselves in isolation. Thus, social interaction during exercise can have a positive impact on the person. Depressed people like to live in social isolation, but they are advised to remain socially active or to ensure participation in mood enhancing activities.

Once the depressed people are out of their shells, they start feeling motivated. It is necessary for depressed people to remain connected.

Feel good factor

People who exercise regularly report a tremendous sense of well-being. As per studies, the effects of exercise in treating mild or moderate depression are equivalent to that of antidepressant medications. Apart from helping one get rid of the signs of depressive behavior, regular workout prevents depressed people from relapsing back to their original state of poor mental health.

Scientists have identified important physiological changes from exercise like promoting neural growth or diminishing inflammation levels that help promote a sense of calmness. Not all exercise needs to be done at once. Few minutes of running, lifting weights, playing basketball or other light activities are equally effective in helping escape the vicious cycle of tension and stress.

Help for anxiety

Though the benefits of exercise in alleviating stress and anxiety levels are known, one needs to seek professional advice for complete amelioration of the disorder.

If you or your loved one is suffering from any mental illness, including stress, depression or anxiety, contact the Sovereign Health to know about our various mental health treatment facilities in the U.S. Call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 954-0529 or chat online for information about our anxiety disorders treatment centers in California.

Read the other articles of the series “Lifestyles and Mental Wellness”:

Part 1: Mental illnesses may lead to social media addiction

Part 2: Peer pressure can affect mental health adversely

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