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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 January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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