by Janet Whyte, LCSW
It is no secret that regular exercise has numerous health benefits. Aside from the more obvious physical benefits, there are many ways in which exercise is found to improve mental health. Exercise is proven to help decrease symptoms of anxiety, depression, improve the body’s ability to respond to stress, increase self-esteem, improve sleep, and improve memory. Recently, a study published in the Journal of Physiology found that six minutes of high-intensity cycling could delay the onset of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
Exercise releases endorphins, or “feel-good” brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of wellbeing and therefore reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. Exercise can help improve sleep, and this in turn has a positive impact on mood, attention, and memory. Additionally, mindfulness can be incorporated into your exercise routine as you pay closer attention to the feeling of your feet hitting the ground, the pace of your breathing, or the feeling of your muscles as they are working hard. When you are focused in on your body during a workout, this may help shift your focus away from any anxious thoughts.
by Janet Whyte, LCSW
What is mindfulness? To some people, it may sound like something that only “hippies” do. The truth is, everyone can benefit from practicing mindfulness in their daily lives. According to the American Psychological Association, practicing mindfulness comes with many proven benefits including reducing stress, reducing rumination, improving attention, decreasing emotional reactivity, and increasing cognitive flexibility as well as relationship satisfaction. All in all, mindfulness can contribute to better mental health and wellbeing.
How do you actually practice mindfulness?
By Janet Whyte, LCSW
Most people seek therapy when they are having a problem that they need help working through, or when their mental health is not doing well. After working with your therapist over time, you may feel as though you have solved your problem, and your overall mental health may start to improve. The question then becomes: do you stop attending therapy now that you are feeling better?