I’m sure you’re familiar with the term “mental health”, but are you aware of how important it is to an individual’s well-being? I’m talking about how a person thinks, how a person feels, how a person reacts, and how a person behaves. These factors could be affected by their mental health, whether or not they are aware of it.
Easily put – how we think, feel and act as we deal with the everyday demands of life.
Mental health SHOULD MATTER as much as physical health. If you seek help whenever you’re in physical pain or discomfort, why shouldn’t you seek help when you’re feeling EMOTIONAL pain or discomfort? And it’s great that both these categories correlate with one another.
Here’s a breakdown on how working out helps with your mental health:
When we work out, our bodies go through an intense process. Our heart rate increases, our lungs take in 15 times more oxygen(!!!!) and glucose in our bodies will be used as a form of energy to keep us going. Basically, a lot is going on in our bodies.
Imagine little workers inside your body – some stationed at the heart, some stationed at the lungs, some at the brain, running around being used to their full capacity when you workout. Of course we would automatically feel tired. You might not feel it right away, but picture yourself going home after a day at work after putting your body through a workout, the bed seems more comfortable doesn’t it?
On a more scientific note, when we sleep, and i mean that sufficient, deep sleep, we tend to feel better the next day. I cannot stress how important sleep is to the well-being of a person.
It affects our focus, our motivation, our behavior, our emotions – everything mental health is.
So if you’re having trouble sleeping, I hope you have an idea of what to do.
Hint : WORK THOSE LITTLE WORKERS!!!!!
Meeting new people / breaking old patterns
Many mental disorders are associated with recurring patterns. When we start working out, we are introducing a new pattern into our life hence disrupting dysfunctional patterns, eg: staying in bed for too long. This could mean that one gets up earlier to hit the gym or join a group workout, which causes them to not be able to isolate themselves with their thoughts.
Whilst working out at a gym or in group classes, there are possibilities of meeting new people of different backgrounds and experiences.
Friendships do have an impact on our mental health because they affect our moods. Quality friendships provide us with comfort, relieves stress and prevent loneliness and isolation.
Meeting new people? Check. Breaking old patterns? Check. Getting that new and healthy mind and body? Check check!
Better awareness of moods and motivation
Lastly, a better mental health comes from a lot of self-awareness. Being self-aware, we can regulate our emotions and take actions from a rational point of view instead of being caught up at the moment & acting out. How does working out help regulate self-awareness then?
When we start working out, we would start to pay more attention to what we eat, how our bodies react to certain exercises and how our bodies feel generally. This is the base of self-awareness.
Once we are able to look at ourselves and be externally self-aware (physical), we can start to look internally (mentally). We can also better understand our moods and motivation when we start working out.
It is already a HUGE step forward towards better mental health once we are able to identify what affects our mood and drives us to move forward.