Try these four ways to lower depression and anxiety. All you have to do is move.
By Ricki Friedman
We all experience it at different times — depression, grief and anxiety because let’s face it, sometimes life is heavy and we all get weighed down by certain moments or events that happen in our lives. As a motivational life and health coach, I’ve made it my mission to help individuals create positive coping skills to help them work through the challenging times.
After losing my mother when I was 13, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to feel whole again and push through the pain. Yes, I had plenty of therapists and endless support, but It’s hard to deny what really helped me the most: moving my body.
Not only did exercise save me after her loss, but it’s saved me in many other ways as well. The role that physical activity has played in decreasing my stress, depression and anxiety on a daily basis hasn’t just transformed the way I feel, it’s transformed my entire life. I’m a happier, calmer and more peaceful person because of it.
I tell my clients all the time: “Move your body, move your mood.” A simple yet powerful statement that has the ability to take you from a negative state of mind into a more positive and centered one.
Why? Because moving your body releases endorphins, and endorphins make us happy. But even more than that, we move our emotions by moving our bodies. It’s not only important to move our body every day in some way, but it’s imperative to our mental health. Exercise stimulates the release of many of the brain chemicals that tend be low in someone who’s battling depression or anxiety.
Remember, the little stuff is the big stuff, and it doesn’t take much to make a big impact on your mood when it comes to physical activity. So, the next time you’re feeling anxious or maybe you woke up with a heaviness in your chest, I encourage you to get up and move.
In-fact, it’s the very first thing you should do.
Here are four simple ways to MOVE YOUR MOOD that you can start implementing into your daily routine TODAY.
1. Take 10-minute walks 3-5 times a day!
That’s all you need to feel calmer and more centered. Walking gets your blood flowing and helps ease the thoughts that might be racing through your head. Whenever I’m feeling down, I always take a 10-minute walk to boost my mood. I recommend trying to aim for 10,000 steps a day because it’ll give you the chance to take many 10-minute walks through the day.
2. Have a 20-minute dance party in the morning!
Silly? Yes, but helpful? Beyond. Seriously. It doesn’t matter how you move, as long as you MOVE! If you wake up feeling down — get up, put on a song you love and dance it out! The idea is to do something you enjoy. So if you love to dance, this is a perfect way for you to move your mood.
3. Do 5-minutes of stretching right when you wake up!
We hold so much emotional stress in our muscles (especially when we are in stressful state of mind), so it’s important to release them. You don’t need a mat or anything fancy because all it takes is 5 minutes of simple stretching through exercises like yoga to feel the release you’ve been seeking.
4. Workout every day for 20 minutes!
You don’t need to be at the gym for hours to reap the benefits. Put on a workout video online, use the workout machines, go for a run. As long as you sweat, you’re going to feel better. Twenty minutes of working out a day is a game changer.
There are many ways to move your body — these are just a few of them. And yes, you might not always be able to control the thoughts that come into your head or events that happen, but you can always pick where you go next.
Ricki Friedman is the founder of breaktheweight.com and a motivational health and life coach. She helps people BREAK the weight in their lives, physically, mentally and emotionally by teaching to change their habits and way they think.