The Natural Mood Booster!

Wednesday is my day for boxing! I look forward to it every week, and there is not much that stops me from going. This week felt different! I had a bad day emotionally, everything was getting on top of me and I felt like I taking an emotional battering from every direction. I was struggling to hold back the tears, I was trying so hard not to take it out on the kids and failing miserably, and all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and hide from the world.

I knew if I had followed my feelings and crawled into bed I would probably still wake up feeling awful the next day. I forced myself to go boxing, with a little encouragement from my husband, and guess what? I felt absolutely amazing afterwards!!!!!

Emotions are a crazy thing! We use the analogy of a coke bottle in our house. When emotions build up in your body, its like the pressure of a shaken coke bottle. If you don't take the cap off slowly and release the pressure bit by bit, you risk taking the lid off completely and all the emotions pouring out like crazy fizzy pop! This works well with out 8 year old daughter when she is dealing with her emotions.

There is an extremely strong link between exercise and your mood and mental health, for long term as well as short term. Research shows that regular exercise can help alleviate long term depression. There is not enough data to show exactly how it works, but reasons we know include:

  • Exercise helps chronic depression by increasing serotonin (which helps your brain regulate mood, sleep and appetite) or brain-derived neurotrophic factor (which helps neurons to grow).

  • Exercise reduces immune system chemicals that can make depression worse.

  • Exercise increases your level of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters.

  • Exercise helps by getting your sleep patterns back to normal. We know getting enough sleep can protect the brain from damage.

  • Exercise gives you a focused activity that can help you feel a sense of accomplishment.

  • Exercise limits the effect of stress on your brain

Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly have fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety than those who don't. 16 weeks of regular exercise is just as effective as anti-depressant medication in treating older people who were not previously exercising.

Its hard to get yourself going when you don't feel like it, or are feeling low, but after the effects I felt on Wednesday, I will strive to exercise when I am down, even if its just a gentle walk, as the effects of exercise on me that day were literally amazing! It no magic pill, but you can see from all the pictures above how great all my challengers feel after getting a sweat on!

Like they say, 'The only workout you regret, is the one that didn't happen!'

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