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The Positive Effects of Exercise On Your Mental Health

In the crazy world we live in, it is crucial to prioritize your mental health. But what does that truly mean? What are ways you can prioritize your mental health? There are a variety of effective ways to care for your mental health, however, this blog is going to survey one of those ways- exercise. Exercise is a great method and a powerful strategy to strengthen your mental well-being.

The positive effects that exercise has on your mental health relate both to your mental and physical improvement. Some of the benefits of exercise are as follows:

1. Exercise Releases Endorphins: Endorphins are chemical neurotransmitters that are released by your brain. They are typically released when one feels pain or stress (in order to help the body relieve some of the feelings). However, endorphins are also released during pleasurable activities. Endorphins act as a natural painkiller and help elevate your mood. When you workout, these neurotransmitters are released to reduce stress, alleviate pain, and boost your sense of well-being!

2. Exercise Reduces Stress and Anxiety: Cortisol is the hormone produced by our bodies that is associated with stress and anxiety. High levels of cortisol are tied to weight gain, exhaustion, and depression. While high-intensity workouts (like HIIT) may cause a spike in cortisol levels (which is not necessarily bad), low-impact calming exercise has been shown to reduce overall cortisol levels. Exercise can act as a healthy outlet, causing mental stress release, but can also physically lower your stress hormones and lead to a more stress-free life.

3. Exercise Improves Sleep Quality: Although scientists are not completely certain of the mechanism for how sleep quality improves with exercise, studies have shown that exercise increases the amount of slow-wave sleep. Slow waves are the deep portion of sleep that humans get. This type of sleep is what allows the brain and body to refresh and function optimally. Better sleep is linked to happiness and cognitive functioning, all aspects of better mental health.

4. Exercise Can Boost Self-Confidence: Working out can help improve body image and self-esteem. The more you commit to regular exercise, the more progress you will see. You will likely feel accomplished and happy with the physical improvement associated with your fitness commitment. The physical change may lead to a mental change as you will have a greater sense of self-confidence and pride for your hard work and progress.

These are only some of the many mental health benefits of exercising regularly. Not only does exercise improve your physical health, but it leads to both mental and chemical changes within your brain to improve mood, reduce stress, and strengthen your sense of self-fulfillment. With all this being said, exercise is not the only mechanism for mental health improvement and may not work for everyone. If you are struggling, you may want to talk to someone professional who can recommend other strategies.

Here at Apple Psychological, we have many different professionals who can offer support and help get you started on your mental health journey today. If you are struggling, feel free to reach out to our team at: (917) 526-0766, or book a FREE consultation call.

An experienced therapist specializing in Adult Counseling can help.

How Do I Know if Therapy is the Right Fit for Me?

HOW DO I KNOW IF THERAPY IS THE RIGHT FIT FOR ME?Choosing to seek professional help can seem like a daunting decision. Luckily, we live in a world where mental health is starting to be recognized as a priority. Therapy is a resource that has the potential to guide you and support you on a journey of personal growth. When deciding if therapy is the right fit for you, there are many things to consider.

Understanding the importance of mental well-being is crucial. It is easy to get caught up in the busyness of everyday life and forget to reflect on your emotional state. In order to properly function and lead a fulfilling life, you must prioritize yourself and your mental improvement. Mental well-being fosters resilience, allows you to think clearly, and even enhances your physical health. When your mental state is good, you are better equipped to deal with life’s daily stressors without feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. Prioritizing mental health may look different for everyone and some may need more help than others.

Deciding to begin the journey of mental health improvement is not easy. One may ask themselves, when is the right time to begin therapy? How can I tell if I need therapy? There is no “wrong” time to start therapy. Everyone can benefit from speaking to someone about their feelings.



However, some indicators may appear as a sign for you to start looking into therapy options:
1. Persistent overwhelming feelings:
a. If you constantly find yourself overwhelmed by stress and you find yourself unable to cope with them on your own. This may impact your optimal functioning and mental well-being.

2. Emotional distress:
     a. If you experience long periods of emotional distress, whether it be related to a specific event or an amalgamation of different matters. This may be impacting your ability to feel happiness or focus on positive aspects of life.

3. Major life transitions:
a. If you find yourself going through a major life change, whether that be the college transition, a breakup, a career change, etc. Sometimes these transitions are hard to navigate alone and it may be beneficial to have someone help guide you.

4. A feeling of hopelessness:
a. If you find yourself feeling stuck, helpless, or lacking motivation, this may be a sign of depression. You should speak to a therapist who can provide guidance and support to you. They may help alleviate these thoughts and aid you in finding a purpose, where you feel that there is none.

These are just some of the indications that it may be time to find a therapist. Many other things can serve as a sign for you to seek professional help and although you may not be experiencing severe symptoms, it is still beneficial to talk to an unbiased professional.

Therapy requires one to self-reflect, confront deep emotions, and express vulnerability and desire for personal growth. Being open to therapy is being open to learning from someone else’s perspective and possibly looking at life through an unfamiliar lens. The thought of embracing vulnerability with a person, let alone a stranger can be scary for some. However, allowing yourself to be open and honest with someone who will offer non judgemental, objective insights, can be extremely freeing. Therapy allows you to explore yourself in a new way and reflect on your feelings and behaviors.

Apple Psychological offers many services and resources for individuals who may want to start on their therapy journey. Prioritizing mental health should be a life requirement. Therapy can lead to significant development on the path to a healthier, happier, and more positive life.

Are you ready to start on your therapy journey, or want to learn more about our practice? Reach out to our team at: (917) 526-0766 or book a FREE consultation call.
An experienced therapist specializing in Adult Counseling can help.