Learning how to deal with depression is an imperative for those of us who have suffered through it or are currently undergoing a severe bout with depression and anxiety. There are several tools or things that you can do to help alleviate the depressed moods and one of the best ones that I have found is exercise. Lack of exercise and depression almost seem to go hand in hand together. When you are at the point where you do not want to even get out of bed doing so will only reinforce your depression while had you exercised at least some of your anxiety would have gone away. Naturally exercise alone isn’t a cure for depression but the benefits of it go a long way in helping you move forward on your journey to beat depression once and for all.
Can exercise really help depression? The answer is a resounding yes! Speaking from my own personal experience and self-treatment, the first step I took towards actively trying to eliminate my depression came when I went to the gym and here are a few reasons why.
Exercise elevates your mood
If you want to know the honest truth getting out of bed and going to the gym isn’t going to make you feel amazing when you’re in a deep depression. However, I look at it as sort of chipping away gradually the bad moods and feelings that completely consume your mind. When I first got back in the gym after my depression, I really had no desire to exercise especially lift weights but I made myself do some physical activity anyways. I soon began to notice that I would have brief moments of clarity and some type of positive emotion that gave me hope that I could recover from depression.
It gives you something to focus on
Having goals and a direction in life is a major part in learning to cope with depression. Exercise and diet is a great place to start because it is something that you can easily control and plan for and isn’t some goal that is too far off in the distance to keep in perspective. Each day you exercise you can set mini-goals for yourself to accomplish and after a few months marvel at the progress you have made.
Creates lots of opportunities for positive activities
Depression takes all of the joy out of life and makes you not want to do anything including your favorite activities from the past. Exercise or playing sports can present the opportunity to clear your head, meet new people, and engage yourself in something other than dwelling on your problems. I absolutely could not find any joy in my life for a long time and doing things that I enjoyed really didn’t help at all. I didn’t set myself for failure though, I told myself to keep my expectations about having fun low and not be disappointed if I didn’t, I simply kept scheduling positive activities and eventually it began to pay off. About a month into my depression I started to play basketball again and for that hour or so my mind was focused solely on the game and my problems might as well not even have existed.
Beating depression with exercise and other self-help methods is something that from my own experience has worked and I believe that it will help others battling depression as well. It isn’t something that happens overnight but the boost to your self-esteem and physical well being alone makes it worth sticking to an exercise routine. You still have to do the work on yourself in other areas and getting to the root cause of depression but regular workouts make it that much easier to do so.