Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health issues in young people of today. The causes of both do tend to vary, but in general you don’t have one without the other. The thing about ‘the black dog’, is that it will never stop following you around; there is no cure for depression – and that’s the bad news. You could manage the symptoms and your emotions with a cocktail of drugs, but ultimately there is no one thing out there that is going to truly make you overcome it.
This isn’t something to be feared, though, as management is often something that can be done well. Depression may not be something you ever truly escape from, but it is something that makes up a part of who you are. Healing the hurt that comes in that parcel of sadness is, however, doable, you just have to know how to help yourself.
Thankfully, there is a lot of help out there for sufferers of depression. Talk therapies, medications and natural therapies to relieve some of the physical symptoms of depression are all available to those who seek the help. It’s not widely known, but exercise is another fantastic tool to alleviate the symptoms of depression. It’s not a cure, nothing is, but getting your sweat on is actually a fantastic way to let loose and feel happier and healthier. The adrenaline you burn off during exercise releases endorphins, which make you feel relaxed, satisfied and happier in general. Exercise also has the power to reduce stresses, no matter how big or small. The chemicals released during exercise are often thought to be quite low in sufferers of depression, so exercise is something that can really change the outlook of someone who is struggling to stay happy.
Taking exercise outside into nature is the cherry on the icing on the cake for those suffering with depression. Getting out into the world and out of a stuffy environment has healing effects on everyone, regardless of mental health status. When it comes to deciding on which workout you should do, you have the whole world outside to help you discover what will work for you. Below, we have put together some of the best workouts that will help to heal your mental anguish, while giving you the chance to be out with the world, fresh air and nature.
You may spend a lot of time internally running from your problems, but getting those trainers laced up and hitting the tarmac can help you to work through them. Runners who get out regularly into the world to get moving often end up on a high, feeling on top of the world for pounding the pavement and burning off energy. The rhythm of feet hitting the ground and getting the time to simply think about life and the issues that are presenting themselves is a healing combination. Make sure you wear the right running shoes to avoid having to see an ankle doctor and ensure you get the right support. Running is not an easy sport to start and will take some time to build up, but set yourself small goals to hit to make your running more achievable. Endorphins are a natural morphine, soothing hurt and making you feel in charge and able to cope. Running can give you the chance to relax – believe it or not – and once that run is complete, the feeling of relief and happiness you feel can change your life.
Getting through the trials and tribulations of mental health issues is exhausting. You spend much of your time trying to climb out from under feelings of worthlessness and sadness, so what better exercise to indulge in than climbing? Strength exercises are important as it is about control, and if you can find an outdoor climbing wall or rock-climbing club that uses actual outside cliff faces, you’re going to be onto a winner! Joining a climbing club is going to give you a chance to get your strength training in whilst being social and meeting new people.
Meditation is calming for the mind, and doing it outside can give you so much more than doing it in a stuffy hall. Eastern traditions have a calming effect, reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression that often weigh people down. Going out to the local beach – if you are fortunate to have one – and doing your yoga in front of the ocean encourages you to breath in fresh air and really get your brain relaxed. Mindfulness has the power to break down negativity and that’s exactly what yoga can do for you.
As with running, you can burn a lot of adrenaline by power walking as it is another aerobic exercise that can keep your heart pumping. All you need is supportive shoes and a good, scenic route to power walk through and you can ensure you have everything covered for a soul-searching time away from home. Getting your body moving is better than staying still and stagnant, and a walk in the local park can give you time to think and work out any problems affecting your day.
Being out in the garden and simply getting stuck into planting new flowers or kicking a ball around with friends can make a huge difference to your mental health. Gardening is therapeutic and when you’re in the sunlight, you get a natural and healthy dose of vitamin C and serotonin – which is so important to avoiding feeling low.
Depression can never really be cured, but it can be taken care of and you can keep on top of the symptoms better if you are moving and keeping your body as healthy as possible. Your mental health can be helped if you are willing to get out into nature and breathe some of the fresh air that you have available. The motivation to get there isn’t always easy, but once you do you can notice the difference of the healing power of fresh air right away.