This is no great revelation to me, but it is worth highlighting. Exercise releases lots of good endorphins and other “stuff” to help improve mood and disposition across the board.
Check it out.
Now if I could only get myself to act on this knowledge…
Improving Mood And Serious Mental Illness With Physical Activity: ”
A new study from Indiana University suggests that even meager levels of physical activity can improve the mood of people with serious mental illnesses (SMI) such as bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia.
The study, published in the November issue of the International Journal of Social Psychiatry, both reinforces earlier findings that people with SMI demonstrate low levels of physical activity…”
One of the many things that went in the tank when I got sick three years ago was my general health. There was a time (quite literally!) when my wife and I would run marathons. Okay, so I ran one marathon, but she’s run a bunch. When I got sick, physical health took an absolute back seat to mental health. What that mean is that i ballooned up about 60 pounds, which has caused a host of other problems with my feet, back, etc etc etc.
So now that I’m off of most of my medication, my wife and I decided it is time to begin losing this weight and reclaim another part of our lives.
The way that we have been most successful at eating well has been Weight Watchers. It’s concrete, they set limits and freedoms, and we have had a great deal of success with them over the years.
One of the things that is important about WW is attending the meetings every week. They are somewhat similar in nature to an AA or NA meeting, although I doubt they would ever admit it. So as I was sitting in our meeting this past week, I was struck with the parallels between losing weight and fighting depression. Here are some of the ones that popped into my head:
- Triggers. Certain events can serve as triggers for depressive behavior. The key is to A) recognize what they are and B) Develop strategies to either avoid the triggers or how to deal with them in less destructive ways.
- Take each day at a time. I know that for myself, I tend to globalize things. If I am having a bad day, it really doesn’t take much for me to convert that into a bad week or month or year. True for food, true for mental health. By looking at each day in itself, it helps one to keep focused, and minimizes the down times. “Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
- Plan. By acting in a purely reactionary mode, you can easily be caught off guard and get stuck in a worse situation that is really necessary. Recognize your limits and your strengths, and evaluate on that basis.
Those are three off the top of my head. Any others come to mind?