I am so happy to be back doing a guest post series for Koral! Thank you so much for this chance.
I’m Stephanie from A Red Hair Girl. In January I wrote a post for Koral that gave you some background about my mental health issues. Then I went on to explain three ways I helped myself with my mental health.
First I admitted to myself I had a problem and that I needed help. Second I told a few people that I felt comfortable telling (my husband, my mom, sisters, and my OBGYN). And third I made the scary phone call to a therapist to get up an appointment. It is worth the read. I hope it will give you courage to seek out the help you need if you are struggling.
At the end of the post I mentioned I had a post about the things I have learned in therapy that have helped me. Welp, I had good intentions but I never got around to writing it… AHHH! I’m sorry!
I thought this mini-series would be the perfect chance for me to tell you about 4 things that I learned from my therapist. And tell you why they have helped me. I’m super excited!
So, let’s get right to it! This post is all about exercise! Here are 4 reasons why exercise is great for your mental health. I hope that by the time you are finished you are ready to get your sweat on.
Working Out Releases Our Feeling Good Endorphins
When we have our feeling good endorphins are flowing it just feels great. This is a natural way to get them going. So why wouldn’t we want to do that? My therapist always ask how my level of exercise. She doesn’t care how hard I’m going at it. She just wants me moving.
Even a walk around the block and kick start the good feeling endorphins. In fact if you exercise outside it can increase the amount of good feeling endorphins. That’s a double win! She tells me to get outside and talk a walk around the block sans kids if I’m feeling stressed, depressed or anxious. That isn’t always possible. But when I have, I come back refreshed.
Exercise Can Help Take Your Mind off Worries
When your brain has less to worry about your depression and anxiety will have less to feed it. When I’m working out it is harder for me to think about negative things. After a workout it is even hard to be negative. It’s all those good feeling endorphins. J
So if you exercise most days then you will have less time during those days to worry, which will help. Because the less you worry then the cycle of negative thoughts that help to feed your depression and anxiety will not be as present.
Exercise Can Help You Gain Confidence
What happens when you work out consistently? So many wonderful things! Among them is you will start to feel better about yourself. When you take the time to work out and do something that is hard you gain confidence.
You may start to lose weight or gain muscle. Your clothes may start to fit differently, a good different. People may start to give you complements. Or you may catch yourself in the mirror and think, WOW! All of these help you to gain confidence.
When you have more confidence you start to have a change in your thinking. For me, I become less depressed. Both of those things (being less depressed and gaining confidence) are very important to your mental health.
Working Out Can Help You Eat Better
If you are like me (and so many other people) then when you start to exercise consistently you may start to eat healthier. You may find yourself grabbing for an apple instead of crackers. The can of soda may not look as tasty as water.
When I am able to get myself out of bed and work out first thing in the morning I tend to make better eating choices all day long. Why wouldn’t I want to start my day off in that way?
Then when you start making better eating choices and continue to work out you will see a difference in your body. This will help you gain more confidence. See how many of these are intertwined? J
Some Tips and Tricks to Help You
- You do not need to go out and join a gym or an online membership unless you want to.
- There are plenty of free resources online or books you can check out from the library.
- Walking is a great way to get started, get some good shoes to protect your feet and body.
- Workout clothes are so much fun to have. They are pricey. I mostly use t-shirts and my husband’s old shorts. I have bought some workout clothes but they don’t fit very well, thank you baby #4. Haha! I reward myself by meeting exercise goals with workout clothes. J
- Yoga is SOOOOO good for your body and mental health. One of my favorite yoga channels on You Tube is Yoga with Adriene. I just really love her, this is not sponsored. After I started to do yoga more consistently I noticed mood improvements. Woohoo!
- Ask a friend to be your accountability partner or workout partner.
- Self-promoting here… J Last fall I created a 3 month free workout program. Check it out and see if it is something you’d like.
Good luck my friends with exercising! It has helped me so much with my mental health and confidence. I know it can help you as well!
Happy working out!