Does an Active Lifestyle Help with Depression?
When you’re depressed, it feels like there’s no hope for the future. You’re depressed now. You’ll be depressed tomorrow. Next week. Next Year. Always. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. By having an active lifestyle, you can start to elevate the symptoms of depression and begin to feel better.
Here’s how being active helps with depression.
Being Active Increases Feel Good Chemicals
Exercise increases neurotransmitters in the brain, specifically serotonin and norepinephrine. Both of these neurotransmitters increase feelings of wellbeing and happiness. They are also the brain chemicals targeted by traditional anti-depressant medications to help overcome depression.
Being Active Gives You Something to Do
One way to fight depression is to keep busy. Living an active lifestyle helps with that. It keeps you from dwelling on the negative things in your life and distracts you when you’re down. Next time you’re starting to obsessive over how bad something is, go for a quick jog or get out in the garden. Soon, those worries will be gone, and you’ll be absorbed in the task at hand.
Being Active Helps You Sleep Better
When you’re active, you sleep better at night. It becomes easier to quiet your mind and fall asleep without worrying about things beyond your control. When you get a good night’s rest, you’re less likely to be depressed, and anxiety levels drop.
Being ActiveGains You Self-Respect
When you’re active, your self-respect grows. You set your mind to something, and it’s accomplished. Whether it’s being part of a sporting team or hiking through the mountains, when you’re setting and meeting goals, your self-respect and self-esteem grown, causing your depression to fade away.
Being Active Gives You Energy
The more active you are, the more energy you have. This is due to a combination of endorphins and brain chemistry. When you participate in a regular exercise routine, you’ll notice when you work out, you get an energy boost and feel revitalized.
Being Active Builds a Support System
When you’re involved in activities, you have things to do, and people to do them with. As you get to know them, these people add to your support system, and those that have a strong support system are less likely to suffer from depression.
Being Active Keeps You Healthy
By staying active, you keep your body and brain healthy. Improving your health is one of the first ways to fight against depression.
Being Active Lowers Stress
By engaging in physical activities, stress levels are lowered. Exercise reduces muscle tension caused by stress and lowers the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body. Exercise also helps you let go of anxiety and stresses that haunt you and creates a mindfulness of the present.
Being Active Reduces the Risk of Depression Relapse
When you live an active lifestyle, you’re less likely to relapse back into depression than those who do not incorporate physical activity into their lives. Because a regular exercise regimen builds your self-esteem and increases feel-good chemicals in the brain, the effects are long lasting.
If you’re looking for a way to decrease your depression without taking medications, consider becoming more active. Exercise boosts your mood, keeps you healthy, and makes you feel so much better.