Nope, I'm not talking about pounds. I'm talking about physical activity for mental health. Losing the depressed mood. I know, I know, you've heard it a million and one times before and, if you're anything like me, you are sick and tired of it. How on earth can you squeeze in a workout (that you don't even like doing, by the way) when you barely even have time to keep the house clean and run kids 300 different places? Stick with me and maybe I can offer something you haven't heard before.
There's research out of Harvard that suggests not just moving but HOW we move is equally as important.
We know that moving our bodies enhances our mood. The social interaction, getting out in nature, endorphin release, all of it helps boost our mood.
The interesting thing, though, is that movement can change your brain. Think about it. When you're sad or depressed, you tend to move slowly or not at all. When you're anxious, you may move quickly, rushed around trying to keep busy.
Yoga - with slow movements and stretching - can calm an anxious mind. Running - with its brisk movements - can bring you out of a depressed state.
Your brain reacts to the flow of your body.
So, how can you incorporate more movement into your everyday?
When depressed, try just walking quickly around your house picking up toys. Make it a game and see how many you can get in a certain amount of time.
Feeling anxious, do the opposite. See how slowly you can fold the clothes. Better yet, make it a race with your kids and don't tell them you're intentionally going to move slow. Maybe they'll finish it all before you do! You can also allot an extra 30 minutes for a grocery shopping trip and walk leisurely around trying to see how many new products you can spot.
Be intentional about your movements and watch how your mind calms.
Allesanda received her Bachelors in Behavioral Science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in December 2013. She now lives in North Texas with her husband and three children. As a maternal support practitioner and educator of family sleep and eco-friendly living, she blogs about family sleep, wellness, nutrition, pregnancy, birth, postpartum, holistic health, and parenting.