How Joining a Local Sports Club Could Support Your Mental Health

Whether you like to play soccer, basketball, or softball, joining a sports club is a great way to stay fit and make new friends. Not to mention, a sports club membership can also support your mental health beyond these benefits.

While exercise is known to improve cardio health and help you build strong muscles and bones, exercise can also alleviate symptoms of depression in the following ways.

Endorphins

You have probably heard of endorphins. They are the “feel-good” chemicals your body releases after exercise, among other times. These neurochemicals have been shown to help boost mood and give us a sense of well-being.

Increased Energy

One of the most common symptoms of depression is fatigue or a lack of energy. A person may feel tired and sluggish all the time, even unable to get out of bed. This can exacerbate the depression because there is now guilt and low self-esteem associated with not accomplishing enough.

Exercise rejuvenates the body and gives it energy to combat any fatigue you may have been feeling.

Improves Your Identity

When we commit to an exercise plan, we feel good about ourselves. According to James Blumenthal, a neuroscientist at Duke University who specializes in depression, “One of the positive psychological benefits of systematic exercise is the development of a sense of personal mastery and positive self–regard, which we believe is likely to play some role in the depression–reducing effects of exercise.

Why Joining a Sports Club is Better Than Joining a Gym

How many of us at some point in our life have bought a gym membership and then not gone to the gym? Plenty!

The great thing about joining a sports club is that it is incredibly fun and social, so we are more motivated to participate. This is the key when it comes to reaping the mental health benefits of exercise – sticking to it!

If you have been suffering with symptoms of depression and have been thinking about joining your local sports club, I encourage you to do so. Ask around town to see what groups may be available. You can also do a quick Google search to turn up clubs in your local area.

If you would like to explore treatment options for your depression, please get in touch with me. I would be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

 

Sources:

https://psychcentral.com/blog/exercise-to-improve-your-mental-health/

https://psychcentral.com/blog/another-reason-why-exercise-benefits-your-mental-health/

The Benefits Of Exercise For Depression

How to Help Your Child Balance School and Extracurricular Activities

There was a time when young kids went to school, came home and did a little homework, then went outside to play with their friends. Their schedules were open and easy for them to handle.

Nowadays, more and more young kids are involved in so many activities they don’t seem to have time to play in the backyard. On top of school, many kids are involved in two or three team sports, music lessons, and church activities. These kids often struggle to keep up with their school & extracurricular activity load and find themselves anxious and having trouble sleeping.

Alvin Rosenfeld, M.D., a child psychiatrist and author of The Over-Scheduled Child: Avoiding the Hyper-Parenting Trap, believes that enrolling children in too many activities is a nationwide problem. “Overscheduling our children is not only a widespread phenomenon, it’s how we parent today,” he says.

“Parents feel remiss that they’re not being good parents if their kids aren’t in all kinds of activities. Children are under pressure to achieve, to be competitive.”

Kids Want to Please Their Parents

While we may think we are doing our kids a service by signing them up for activities we think they’ll enjoy and will build character and confidence, we must understand that they may not want or be able to handle so much.

Some of us may look back on our own childhoods with regret and dismay and vow that our kids will have more. These good intentions often turn into childhood nightmares for our kids. We mean well, but it’s just too much for them to handle.

Here are some things parents can do to help their children balance their schoolwork and extracurricular activities:

Lighten Up

Parents need to lighten up and remember that childhood is supposed to be fun! There will be plenty of time to be serious when they are adults. Try to put less pressure on your child to achieve something grand, and spend more time making happy memories together.

Understand the Benefits of Self-Direction

Independent work and play times are highly beneficial to the developing mind and ego. Alone time also helps children process their experiences and de-stress.

Talk to Your Child

You won’t know if your child is struggling to keep up with his or her activities unless you talk openly with them about it. If some activities need to be removed from the schedule, work with your child to figure out which one(s) to keep and which to let go.

 

Extracurricular activities like music, arts, and sports can definitely play an important role in your child’s development. Just make sure your child does not become overwhelmed by too many activities.

If you’re looking for an expert to help your child manage their stress and avoid becoming overwhelmed, please reach out to me today.

 

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/200301/the-overbooked-child

https://www.everydayhealth.com/kids-health/balancing-school-with-extracurricular-activities.aspx

Finding the Balance With After-School Activities

Let’s Go for a Walk: How Daily Exercise Can Aid Mental Health

By now, most of us know that exercise offers numerous health benefits. From maintaining an ideal weight, to reducing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis, moving our body every day improves the length and quality of our lives.

But not all of us recognize just how important exercise is to our mental health.

Beyond Hormone Release

Most of us have had that rush after a hike or trip to the gym. We feel energetic and even happy after we exercise. Of course, we now know that when we exercise, our body releases “feel-good” hormones such as endorphins and enkephalins. These hormones instantly improve our mood and outlook on life.

But is that all exercise is good for? A quick fix? An instant mood pick-me-up via a hormonal rush? Or can exercise effect our brains and mental health on a fundamental level?

A study conducted by researchers from Duke University compared the antidepressant effects of aerobic exercise to the popular antidepressant medicine sertraline, as well as a placebo sugar pill. After four months the researcher found that those subjects who exercised regularly experienced the greatest antidepressant effect.

In other words, exercise was scientifically proven to be just as, if not more effective than prescription medications at relieving symptoms of depression.

How is this possible?

It turns out, regular exercise increases the volume of certain brain regions through better blood supply and an increase in neurotrophic factors and neurohormones that support neuron signaling, growth, and connections.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that exercise leads to the creation of new hippocampal neurons, the hippocampus being incredibly important for learning, memory creation, and emotion regulation.

So, How Much Exercise Do You Need?

Psychiatrist Madhukar Trivedi of UT Southwestern Medical Center has shown that three or more sessions per week of aerobic exercise or resistance training, for 45 to 60 minutes per session, can help treat even chronic depression. The key here is regularity, so it’s important to focus on the kind of exercise you do.

If you don’t like going to the gym, then find another activity. Hike, bike, swim, or dance. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you get your body moving for around an hour a few times per week and you do so consistently.

In order for all of us to be entirely healthy, that means physically as well as mentally healthy, it’s important to incorporate exercise into our every day life.

Making New “Glory Days”: How to Stop Obsessing About Youthful Successes

“Ahh, the good ol’ days.” How often have we heard or uttered this familiar phrase? It can be a source of great pleasure and amusement to reminisce on a time when we were younger, remembering a special event or activity. We tend to look at our past experiences through a filter that magnifies the positive while diminishing the negative. While there’s no harm in basking in a memory, it can be harmful if you spend so much time looking at your past, that you neglect your present and future.

If you’re someone who spends too much time thinking about the “glory days” of your youth, you might think it’s because your life has become dull and monotonous. With the carefree days of your youth behind you, you might long to be back in that time period to escape your present. But if you take a closer look and examine your life, you may be surprised to notice that you look back not because your past was so great, but rather because your present is not. The more time you spend reminiscing, the worse your current life becomes, neglected by daydreaming of the past instead of imagining new heights to which you can aspire.

Get Rid of Unneeded Memorabilia

Sometimes a memento is a special memory of a special time, and sometimes it’s just an object that’s imprisoning you in your past. Getting rid of an excess of items associated with the past will help you stop living in days gone by, and free you to live in and enjoy the present.

Fully Appreciate Each Day

As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” One way to stop living in the past is to enjoy and appreciate each day. Start keeping a journal and jot down three things you’re grateful for each day. Take a walk, or cook a special meal. Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of every day.

Make Future Plans

Nothing can keep you from looking to the past quite like looking to the future. Plan a vacation or create a goal you want to reach in the near and distant future. Maybe you want to learn a new language, start playing the piano, or read all the classic novels. There’s a lot of life waiting to be lived, so make the most of it.

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with a moment of nostalgia, it’s important to live in the present, and spend your time enjoying your life as you live it. If you make the effort to create a better life for yourself today and in the future, you’ll not only bring yourself great happiness and satisfaction, but you’ll create many more memories to relish in the days to come.

If you’re struggling and looking for support and guidance to create a better, more satisfying life, a licensed professional can help. Call my office today and let’s schedule a time to talk.

How to Mentally Recover from a Serious Physical Injury

After sustaining a serious physical injury, most people don’t consider the mental and emotional ramifications of this type of accident. Getting to a hospital and getting immediate medical care is the primary focus, followed by follow-up care and physical recovery. But how does a serious injury affect your mental health?

According to a 2016 study conducted by the peer-reviewed medical journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology (SPPE), unintentional injuries have a significant long-term impact on the health of adults. The study indicated that depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder are common post-injury, and that identifying and managing depression after a major injury is essential in clinical care.

If you’ve recently suffered a major injury, you may find yourself forced to stay partially or even completely sedentary, limited to a small range of rehabilitation exercises. Regardless of your pre-injury level of activity, this can make a profound and negative impact on your mental well being. What can you do to regain not just your physical fitness, but your mental health as well?

Stay Positive

Rather than thinking about what you used to be able to do that you can’t do at the moment, stay focused on what you can do, and what you can control. Re-evaluate your objectives and create new goals to strive towards. Something as simple as striving to maintain a modified exercise routine can help you recover from your injury as well as alleviate feelings of depression.

Meditate

To help deal with the physical pain, discomfort and negative emotions that one can experience post-injury, turning to meditation can help. Although you may think that to sit still and concentrate on your breath might amplify your negative feelings, meditation has the opposite effect. Through meditation, you can begin to reduce stress, calm your nervous system and alleviate depression while supporting optimal physical healing.

Journal

Journaling your thoughts and feelings is a great way to connect with forgotten or buried thoughts and emotions. Journaling daily can help you let go of negative emotions, find things you can be grateful for, and remind yourself what makes you truly happy. You might even want to try creating a blog, to share your stories with others who have experienced or are experiencing the same thing, as you chronicle your path to healing.

Therapy

It’s important to understand why you’re depressed and discuss ways to alleviate that feeling. Even if you’re not able to physically go to someone’s office, you can get therapy online by chat, webcam, or on your smart phone. Talking to a therapist can help you overcome the negative emotions you’re dealing with, while providing you with support and encouragement.

Have you suffered from a serious physical injury, and are in need of mental and emotional support on your road to wellness? An experienced, licensed mental health professional can help. Call my office today and let’s set up a time to chat.