Lesson 4 - Staying Active
The mind and the body are intrinsically linked. When you improve your physical health, you’ll automatically experience greater mental and emotional well-being. Physical activity also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that lift your mood and provide added energy. Regular exercise or activity can have a major impact on mental and emotional health problems, relieve stress, improve memory, and help you to sleep better.
If you hate to exercise, you’re not alone. You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits of being more active. Take a walk at lunchtime through a park, walk laps in an air-conditioned mall while window shopping, throw a Frisbee with a dog, dance to your favorite music, play activity-based video games, cycle or walk to an appointment rather than drive. Even modest amounts of physical activity can make a big difference to your mental and emotional health—boost your energy and outlook and help regain a sense of control.
MOVE IT! Try for 30 minutes of activity on most days. Start with three 10-minute sessions, such as walking or dancing to a favorite song.
Try rhythmic exercise that engages both your arms and legs, such as walking, running, swimming, weight training, martial arts, or dancing.
Add a mindfulness element to your workouts. Instead of focusing on your thoughts, focus on how your body feels as you move—how your feet hit the ground, for example, the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of wind on your skin. (Revisit our mindfulness videos.)
Mental Health Matters Challenge
Take a technology break and show yourself some compassion. Plan to be tech free for at least 15 minutes to up to an hour. Can you do it? No phone, no electricity (except maybe heat), no TV, no radio, just you and your thoughts.
Think about at least one GOOD THING you accomplished this semester. Write them down; one good thing per POST-IT or line on paper. How many can you come up with in your tech-free me time?