Now more than ever, people are becoming more aware of the state of their mental health. The conversations are becoming less taboo than they used to be even twenty years ago. Within these conversations we are able to learn the statistics regarding not only mental health but also learning about what we can do to possibly help. Especially in cases regarding Depression and Anxiety.
Here is just a couple of numbers for a quick reference:
-According to a Leger Poll by the Canadian Blue Cross, as of January 2021, 24.3% of
Canadians have experienced moderate to severe anxiety. 21.7% have felt depressed.
-According to the World Health Organization, more than 6.7 million Canadians are affected by
their mental health or struggle with mental illness
That’s a lot of people! If you’re reading this, you may struggle with this as well. For me personally, I have struggled with both depression and anxiety, at different levels over the years. Something that has helped me quite a bit is regular exercise. Now, I want to clarify that I’m not a Doctor, of any kind. And I know that there are varying degrees of both anxiety and depression. Some of which require counselling and medication. So please talk to a health care professional if you feel that you need to do so.
For me personally, I never got to the point of having to take medication, although I know many who have and still do. And I am grateful that we can help people in this way if it’s deemed necessary. One of the ways that has helped me personally, has been physical exercise. One of the reasons for this is because we now know from doing a little bit of research, on a medical stand point how exercise can actually be very helpful.
In regular people terms, when we exercise, it releases feel-good endorphins, natural cannabis-like brain chemicals (endogenous cannabinoids) and other natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being. It also helps you gain confidence, sharpens your thinking, improves energy levels, reduces risks of things like diabetes (among other diseases) and relieves stress.
I know for me I can tell the difference between the days that I do work out, verses the days that I don’t. I can feel it in my mood, my outlook on life in general, my energy levels and so on. The days that I work out not only am I proud of myself but I also feel so much better, not to mention stronger. Both physically and mentally.
I started out with some small equipment in my own home. Once my confidence went up a bit I started going to the gym. Online courses and personal training is also not only a great way to get a work out in, it also means you have someone in your corner that can help you along the way.
There have been many times that I have just wanted to lay in bed or lay around the house and allow my depression and anxiety have their way with me. I now know that depression and anxiety are your mind and emotions lying to you about who you really are. I can tell you from personal experience that getting out in that sunshine for something as simple as a walk can make all the difference in the world. Once I started lifting weights it also became a great stress reliever for me as well. And it’s one more day of overcoming. One more day of victory. One more day of strength. One day and one step at a time.
If you are struggling and are feeling alone, try reaching out to a fitness trainer to at least help to create an ideal fitness plan for you. You’ll be surprised at how fast you mental state will change, for the better, and how good you’ll look doing it.