Sunday, April 7, 2013

Exercising: A Secret Ingredient to Happiness

Alright, I'm gonna take a little break from The Four Agreements thing and talk about exercising, because it has really been helping me lately!

You've probably heard that exercising is a great way to de-stress, which is true, but there's more to it than that. One of the first things doctors ask their patients who come in seeking anti-depressants is if they've tried other things such as meditation or exercise.

Repressing a high amount of stress can be detrimental to your long-term mental health. Why? It wears down the connections between nerve cells in your brain, making you more susceptible to anxiety and depression, and affecting your memory and ability to take in new information. Exercising, however, allows you to take that energy and put it toward something that is beneficial to your physical health. It’s also great for your mental health because it stimulates the production of endorphins.

Endorphins are powerful little things. They function as neurotransmitters in your brain, produced by the pituitary gland during excitement, pain, orgasms, love, consumption of spicy food and—you guessed it—exercise. The effect of endorphins is similar to that of opiates because they’re your body’s natural painkillers and bring about a feeling of wellbeing and happiness. Ever heard of “runner’s high”?

So next time you’re feeling down or just stressed out, get your butt up and head to the gym, or better yet—make it a routine.

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