Activity and Depression.

I would like to start off by saying I apologize for the late post this week! Being a college student can get a little hectic at times.

In other news, I would like to talk about depression and the benefits of physical activity. I’m aware that I post a lot about mental illness and my struggles with, so if this sounds too redundant for you…sorry. But it’s an issue close to my heart, and as a Psychology major I feel as though I need to advocate.

Over the past month and a half I have really been pushing my limits on the amount of activity I spend doing in a week. From Cross fit, climbing, and even jumping back into Hockey. I find that the more I move my body and provide it with an outlet the easier it is on my mind. I think it’s true what they say, that exercise can be one of the biggest and best anti-depressants a person can get. And of course there has to be mention of the increase of feel good endorphins.

But what I find most compelling, especially in my case is the fact that I can just forget everything and focus on what I’m doing. I can forget all my worries or issues and just focus on doing all the activities correctly. I also find that after the exercise is done I feel more confident, I find myself interacting with many people around me (which as an introvert, never happens).

In the past I was always placed and told I needed medication, and last year I decided to cut that out of the equation. I won’t say it’s been an easy journey but it has definitely been well worth it. I no longer feel empty, I have more desire to do the things I once loved. I guess what I’m trying to say in this post is that even though you may not want to, you should use exercise for what it is. give your body what it needs, even if it’s just a walk around the block. Because some of us have a harder time finding what is really needed.

As always thank you for stopping in!!

sara-3-1

Sarah
Co-Writer
theDIHEDRAL

 

 

 

89 Replies to “Activity and Depression.”

  1. Great post – I have one on a similar topic stuck in my drafts folder that I’ve still not managed to finish. But I absolutely agree – absolutely nothing helps me with depression, anxiety.

    It’s the only time when I find I can think through things that are bothering me or worrying me without being overwhelmed by negative thoughts and feelings, or that I can simply *not* think about things that are bothering me, without them intruding.

    My only concern is that sometimes now I find that being unable to exercise for whatever reason can make me very unhappy, and I live in fear of getting an injury that would stop me running for any length of time.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I love this and I applaud your awareness. I also suffer bouts of legit depression and I don’t like the meds. I’ve been on courses of anti-depressants twice in my life and while there were benefits (like I’m here) there was a downside. Now I use St. John’s Wort and it’s been good for me. BUT…

    In my uncountable hours of hiking over the years I experienced the chemical benefits of hard exercise, but also the spiritual benefits, the feeling of being in a world larger than my classes, controversies with my my peers, grading of immense piles of papers, etc. I was glad to be out in solitude (I usually taught 7 classes a semester; that’s a lot of people for an introvert to deal with daily) under the open sky. There I felt less isolated and less freakish. Depression and even mild mania (my other “good buddy”) can make a person feel like an outsider and those feelings went away with every dusty trail my boots trod with my dogs.

    It’s great you speak out. Your advocacy is important. I also experienced what it’s like to have a depressive crisis, be off work to deal with it, and then return. I might as well have been a leper. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really appreciate you sharing your personal experience with this. I too have struggled with mental health for some time; it’s empowering to hear how others are surviving, coping, growing and bettering themselves in all capacities. Keep up the great work! I believe in you!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great post. I think treating depression works differently for everyone – but physical activity definitely helps boost your mood and relieve stress.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Totally agree with this post, I’ve been trying to get back into exercise more recently for this very reason. Getting moving, even a just little bit, really has a big impact.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Great message here. I have a live hate relationship with this time of the year in particular – Seasonal Depression. As it gets too cold to be outside as I’d like, my ability to manage stress begins to fail and I have a real struggle. Activity is definitely a key element in mental health.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This post definitely resonates with me as someone who has dealt with anxiety and depression for most of my adult life. I have resisted medication and ongoing therapy because I never felt like those things did/would help me that much, and fortunately my mental health issues weren’t so severe that I had to do those things. I have never really been one to exercise super regularly, but I finally committed to doing so a few years ago and have definitely noticed a positive impact on my mental health. I’ve finally gotten to a point where if I don’t exercise for a while, I really feel it and crave it. I think everyone has different preferences for the type of exercise they enjoy most and find most sustainable, but there’s no denying our bodies and minds need it just like water or oxygen!

    P.S. Thanks for checking out my travel blog, amblin’ rose!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Oh, this is so timely for me. I have just admitted the illness few weeks ago and I’m working on getting better. And I agree, exercise, spending time outdoor do make me feel great.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Sarah, and Commenters: I want to add my perspective as an older man because I get the sense you are from a younger generation. So please accept my inputs as wanting to be helpful and with all due respect to each of you.

    While I can’t say I have dealt with depression as an illness or condition, I have had bouts following significant events in my life, especially after injury. And as you are young, your ability to participate in outdoor or physical activity is a great way to deal with problems you describe.

    However, I would also like to comment on issues of over committing. Sarah, you list a bunch of things you are involved with and I remember reaching points in my life where juggling so many things made life crazy for me. I reached a point where I had to make a conscious decision to “shed” some activities in order to be more in control of my life and be more successful with those things I was doing.

    Additionally, one thing I would encourage people to think about is volunteering or helping others. When I have found myself consumed with my own issues, I have decided to get out of my funk by going out and helping others by joining a community organization, VA group, hospital, whatever your interest might be. This helps to change your focus, give you a new perspective and change of scenery and to meet new people.

    And finally, another thing I do not see mentioned is prayer or meditation. Being quiet. Resting. Relaxation. Clearing your mind. You are all very keen to remove drugs from your life which I applaud. But consider your environment and the amount of noise, sources of irritation, e.g. news, social media, tv, mass media, traffic where you live and you can take note of those things and maybe start configuring your life to make it not only more endurable but enjoyable.

    One comment to Martha, my Dear! Being an introvert myself, I think you may be pursuing the wrong type of career. Mind you, I am only making a suggestion here but I found the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator to be very useful in understanding both my personal characteristics and how I might fare in dealing with certain environments and people. If you haven’t looked into that, I would encourage you to do so. And I likewise, found hiking, cross country up in the mountains to be so rejuvenating, that when I need to meditate, that is where my mind takes me. It is absolutely beautiful being up at 9,000 feet in the Ansel Adams Wilderness in the Sierra Nevada over by Lake Tahoe.

    God bless all of you and best wishes for your individual challenges.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Good article to read. I think treating depression with spiritual activity.
    God hears you. Because God knows our frustrations and despair, we can give those feelings to God.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Great post! This is something I need to remember, I’ve been lacking motivation to get myself to do some kind of physical hobby, whether it’s running or yoga – just something! Exercise is so important

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I can totally relate. I go through the hardest classes offered at my school with hours of homework every night. This load stresses me out and prevents satisfactory sleep. However, I am also a wrestler and a Boy Scout. Between these groups, the people, and the activities in them, all stress seems to melt away and I am able to focus on each task as it comes to me. So yes, I agree with you completely on the physical aspect but I would like to add the community aspect of a team or group that you can relate to and have fun with while being active.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Endorphins rock! I remember about 15 years ago discovering that there was a way to affect your depression when you couldn’t ‘just think positive.’ One thing that is often overlooked in my opinion, there are other avenues to affect depression than therapy or pharmaceuticals. One of these is physical activity.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I know that physical activity is meant to be good for people suffering from depression. And when I myself suffered from depression this was recommended to me by my doctor. But sadly I was not in a place mentally where I could follow through with that. It seemed to hard. Some days just being vertical was as much as I could achieve. I appreciate your points very well, but it isn’t always easy to do. I am so pleased it works for you though 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. When I was going through one of the most challenging periods of my life, I was unemployed and engagement broken off in the same year. I was much happier then than I am now as back then, I use to workout out every day and only ate healthily. I lost a lot of weight (healthy ofcoz) and a lot fitter and stronger than what I am now sigh

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It just goes to show doesn’t it how we all deal with our challenges in life in a different way. But if we find a thing that works for us we should try and cultivate that for ourselves if we are able. I wish you happiness going forward.

        Liked by 2 people

  15. Thank you Sarah, I feel like this is what I needed to read. I stumbled upon another article earlier today that dealt with the same topic, although with a less personal approach, and yours is more convincing! Physical activity as a way to put one’s thoughts aside and gain a confidence boost… I definitely need to give it a go!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t usually answer my own comments but I wanted to thank you again – after my visit on your blog, I actually ordered a stationary bike! It arrived on Friday and I’m already addicted. I know it would be better to exercise outdoors but I least I won’t get to use cold or wind as an excuse not to exercise! So thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Kudo’s With anything, I do my best to avoid meds, yet knowing that’s not always possible. I wish you the best in that. My son just started on them and it becomes quite obvious when he’s off, but until now compounded with ADD, it’s all that’s helped him function at all. It’s been a challenge for anyone who has tried to help him. Yet, he’s finally holding down a job and becoming more social, so it’s been a good thing.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Long story short, I now work alone in the office. It has been terribly sucky being alone for 8-9 hours a day not talking to anyone. I thought, as an introvert, it was going to be wonderful! Instead its been lonely and quite depressing. Someone suggested that I do a workout during my lunch hour to get those endorphin working and I’m handling the situation much better now 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I commend you for having the strength to combat your depression without the help of medications. I was diagnosed as moderate to severely clinically depressed about 7 years ago when I went through a divorce and I started taking the meds then and found that they helped. I’ve tried to go off of them a few times and have struggled, not knowing if the ways I was feeling was because of the lack of meds in my system, or if I was truly depressed without them. Does that make sense?

    And yes, physical activity is a huge help. When I was going through my divorce, I was working out like six days a week, sometimes spending up to two hours at the gym. I was in the best shape of my life and it definitely inspired confidence in me that I otherwise didn’t have.

    I’m going to read more of your posts on depression. I give you props for having the courage to write about it. It’s hard, and it’s like you’re bearing your soul or standing naked in front of everyone when you do it. But I’ve found that writing about it has definitely helped me work through many parts of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I agree. When my ex-wife left me for no reason at all (no closure), I was devastated. I channeled my frustration climbing crags and swimming laps in the local pool. Yes, physical activity really helps.

    Liked by 4 people

  20. I agree wholeheartedly! I used to hate physical exercise, but once I finally gave in, I found that it actually helped me cope (and on some days, eliminate) my depression. Eating right has added to my recent surge in mood and productivity, too. To me, nothing beats the endorphin boost after a good workout 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I agree! Even though it’s sometimes nearly impossible to find the motivation to get up and do something, I almost always feel better after even just going for a walk! Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Great post! Being active on a near daily basis has definitely helped me at the least cope with my darker thoughts. It’s also nice to do an activity like climbing where you can see progression (even if micro).

    Liked by 3 people

  23. “I can forget all my worries and issues and just focus on doing all the activities correctly.”
    Physical activity has multiple benefits, of course, but concentration activities needn’t be exercise.
    Anything in which you can be engrossed, to occupy the foreground of the mind, can be beneficial. Gardening, a game of chess, fishing, crosswords…these all occupy the mind and allow it to “rest up” from ruminations.

    Seek peace,

    Paz

    Liked by 2 people

  24. I agree with you! Physical activity is so beneficial. From one introverted psych major to another, great post! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I am not prone to depression, but one day I did feel really depressed. I went out for a walk on the hills of my neighborhood and just kept walking until the depression lifted. Then I trekked home. By then, I felt quite happy.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Couldnt agree more. Keeping busy is what has helped me get through it and is still my prefered way of handling with stress, preventing to go all the way down again

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Thanks for sharing. I agree but I can’t find it in me to go with I’m depressed in bed. Feeling hopeless. It’s so hard to get out. I’m not putting excuses because I’ve exercised before and saw benefits. I just don’t know how to do it anymore. It’s not as easy as it seems. Especially when I’m fat and society looks at me like I’m a piece of shit. You’re a good size and I’m not. I feel like shit and look like one. I’m embarrassed and hopleaa 😔

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Pretty sure that I run to self medicate during panic attacks, when I run I actually keep going until there is some sort of physiological release that happens that calms me down. It’s amazing. Sometimes we have to trick our bodies into releasing something that really my mind just needs and not my body, I feel like physical activity is how we do that, a way to shunt happy chemicals through the blood brain barrier.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Yes. I think it’s just that sometimes I feel extra tired with the mental health issues but still I just let myself rest for a bit, drink some water, and muster up some energy to go to the gym. I never regret it!

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Great article. There is definately something to being focused on getting through the next physical challenge that brings me a lot of peace of mind> That said do you think at times, when taken to the extreme it can be used as a crutch that fails to adress the deeper issues thou?

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Totally agree. I too have battled depression and anxiety and I also worked with a doctor to get off of the medication I was originally prescribed. It’s been almost a year since I started down that road. It wasn’t easy and some days are still harder than others, but physical activity makes s huge difference. The mornings I make my swim practices, I’m always in a better space.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Thanks for this post. My son suffers from mental illness and exercise is something to remind him of. Right now he’s in a bit of a crisis, which makes me depressed, and today what got me out of my funk was working in my garden, cutting and pulling out dead plants. After that, I took a walk and then felt better!
    Thanks for visiting my blog!

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Hi! Yes it is. I’m not only a depression/anxiety survivor, I’m a personal trainer. Exercise releases chemicals in your body to help anxiety. I used to have one client who had severe depression. Very often when we were done with a session she would tell me how much better she felt. I know for me personally that when I was unemployed, my workout was my salvation every day and really helped me stay positive, even just a little bit. So go do something! Get better every day! Let me know how I can help!

    Liked by 2 people

  34. I can relate to this SO much. Sports was my outlet, football was my world and the football pitch was my safe haven. It’s really inspiring me to go back and fall in love with it all over again. Obviously, I have extremely high levels of anxiety and I the prospect of even going back to my old team makes me feel sick to my stomach. But it’s a catch 22 isn’t it… I’m petrified of going back, buts it’s ironically what I need. Or maybe I should try a new hobby? Thank you for inspiring me.

    Liked by 2 people

  35. Thank you for checking out my blog! Much appreciated. I love how you put things. They make a lot of sense. I feel like I’ve been in a manic phase lately…especially today. I got a ton done, but the thought of leaving my house now makes me feel anxious and upset.
    I also am a psychology major, so I enjoyed your take on things…the way we think is fascinating!

    Liked by 2 people

  36. I entirely agree. Having a biological depression and anxiety I can fully sympathise with how this feels. Without my martial arts and archery, I would not be living the quality of life I do. I think you’ve written a very Authentic post here showing the heart of how hard it is to get into, but how fully worthwhile it is when there.

    Liked by 2 people

  37. I agree. I remember hearing an episode of the Monocle podcast once where the host interviewed the former mayor of Medellin, Colombia regarding opening more pedestrian-safe spaces in the city. One of the facts they shared in that interview is that people who commute for more than 30 minutes to work are more depressed than those who are able to walk or cycle to work. Because the human body is made for movement, sitting for longer hours does not really make it do what it’s made for, and it is, therefore, bad for us.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. I just read the first two paragraphs and already knew I agreed 100%. Discovering that activity made me happier changed my life.

    Liked by 2 people

  39. As someone who’s dealt with depression. I can say I 100% agree with what you’re saying! I always feel way better after working out

    Liked by 2 people

  40. I am also dealing with depression, it has only been a few months but I find that a simple walk/run in the park helps to clear my mind. There is no time for bad thoughts when you are out in nature and focused on breathing in and out to the rythym of your feet! Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s