Can movement impact your mood? 100%! I focus a lot on healthy eating and a balanced diet when I talk about mental health. And for good reason, it’s the foundation upon which everything else builds. Without proper nutrition, there’s no energy for the body to use, no fuel.
And if your body (and brain) are missing key nutrients, it can lead to mental illness and imbalance. So that’s always where I start when I speak about recovering from depression and anxiety. Movement is the next building block that’s super important after food.
It can feel like you’re in a vicious circle.
With depression comes lethargy, laziness, low energy, low motivation. So it can be HARD to get yourself up and moving. But if you do, WOW will it help! Your mind and body are intimately connected, so it makes sense that your brain affects your body and also that your body affects your brain.
Mindset shifts and retraining your thought patterns can be tiring and sometimes overwhelming. So when you experience an increase in anxiety or a really low mood, try incorporating movement in as well.
Going out for a meditative walk, some gentle stretching or yoga, or even heading to the gym if that’s what you enjoy. All of these things get blood flowing and get you out of your head and into your body. It takes the focus off the negativity and brings you into the present moment.
Movement also produces the feel good hormone; serotonin. This has an uplifting effect on your entire body and mind. It’ll make you feel brighter and help you release anxious energy.
These benefits don’t just apply to one type of movement. It’s important to find one that works for you, that you truly enjoy. That makes it easier and more sustainable for you to do on a regular basis. So keep in mind that we are all different human beings, with different bodies, likes and dislikes.
Try out different exercises and see what you like. You could really enjoy going to the gym and lifting weights, running on the treadmill. Or you could like walking, hiking, biking. Dancing is a fantastic way to boost your mood and feel great!
It doesn’t matter what movement you do, as long as your incorporate some form of it daily.
Your body and your mind will thank you.
Here are my top 5 ways to incorporate movement into your day:
- Go for a walk in nature – aim for a minimum of 20 minutes to feel benefits.
- Try yoga! If you feel that getting yourself to a yoga class is more than you can handle, jump on YouTube and there are hundreds of videos that you can practice alongside.
- Watching TV in the evening? Slide onto the floor and do some stretching while you watch.
- Want to get stronger while incorporating movement? Try downloading a workout app (I love Sweat) that provides workouts that you can do to feel fitter.
- Last but not least, this one is actually my favourite. Dance! Put your music on loud at home and dance around for 15-20 minutes. You’ll have yourself laughing in no time. 😉