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Science Says Moderate Exercise Can Prevent Depression

Science Says Moderate Exercise Can Prevent Depression

Depression is an illness that affects the mind and body. It is not your ordinary feeling of sadness or emptiness. At its worst, depression has the power to destroy you while playing with your thoughts and emotions.

When you’re in a depressed state, everything just feels “wrong”. From the moment you wake up to the time you go to sleep. You see the world in a darker shade – where rainbows don’t exist and bright days seem to pass by quickly.

If you have a loved one suffering from depression, it can be just as emotionally painful to see them destroy themselves each day. And if you could just transfer your energy and your happiness to them, you would do so in a heartbeat.

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Working Out for Good Mental Health

study on the effects of moderate physical activity has been found to combat the damaging effects of depression. The research conducted at the University of Toronto found that moderate exercise has long-term effects on preventing and curing depression.

Inspired by mental health experts who are worried about costly prescription medications and its side effects, the study was focused on the preventive ability of exercise to fend off depression.

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Aside from muscle size, abs, and a healthy heart – exercise proves to have positive effects on one’s mental health. Part of the symptoms of depression is fatigue and mental exhaustion. This causes the person to feel tired even after a good night’s sleep. A depressed person will also likely to stay at home and avoid any activity that will require their energy. With proper guidance, continuous support and care, it isn’t possible to get them to like exercise and help them cultivate a healthier and more active lifestyle.

Moderate Exercise for Treating Anxiety

Anxiety and depression are two different conditions which on many occasions can occur together on an individual. One of the causes of anxiety is tension and stress. It is a normal response to stressful situations. Exercises help relieve these feelings of tension and pressure, by giving you a healthy release of endorphins.

Physical activity helps you shift your focus on your body. It gives you temporary mindfulness as you run, feel the wind in your hair, your aching legs and your breath. Experts believe that any activity that releases stress helps you avoid worries and matters of the mind.

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Moderate Exercise for Boosting the Brain

Depression can shut down the brain’s ability to adapt to new situations.  It limits the production of essential brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin that foster brain cell communication.

This is the reason why depressed people seem to make poor life choices. They also withdraw themselves from any kind of new social interaction or activity, because they don’t know how to adapt to these changes.

Exercise counters this by boosting the production of a protein called BDNF that helps neurotransmitters from functioning effectively. BDNF also stimulates growth and creation of brain cells which helps improve memory.

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Exercise Fights Fatigue and Gives You Energy

When you’re feeling sluggish, and tired – all you want to do is lie on the couch and hide under the covers all day. But experts say the common fatigue we often experience is not caused by simple exhaustion, but our bodies’ resistance to sedentary activities.

It’s your body’s way of telling you that you need to go out and get moving. When you start moving, your body will want to move more, and the more you move, the more energy you’ll have.  More running and moving can help increase your heart rate and energy.

Just like how food gives you energy. Exercise gives you your body’s needed energy boost to help you last throughout the day. Now you can work for 8 hours without feeling fatigued, digest dietary fats better, and have a more productive work day.

Exercise as a Coping Technique

Exercise is a great way to help you cope with challenges in life. Instead of resorting to bad vices like drugs, alcohol and activities that have damaging effects on your body, exercise helps you feel good about yourself. It also fosters self-love and the feeling that you’re doing something good for your body.

Exercise has many wondrous effects on our body.  In fact, many of the illnesses and conditions we have today can be prevented and improved through physical activity. The best thing about exercise is anyone can do it – your age, ethnicity, or size don’t matter at all. This means we can all take small steps to become happy and healthy.

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Armela Escalona

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Last Updated on September 10, 2019

7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

1. Gratitude

Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

Gratitude-Quotes

    2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

    This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

    For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

    What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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    Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

    3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

    This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

    Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

    An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

    Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

    write down goals

      4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

      According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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      There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

      5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

      Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

      Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

      6. Rise Earlier

      The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

      For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

      So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

      Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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      7. Listen to Uplifting Music

      Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

      Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

      It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

      Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

      More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

      Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
      [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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