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6 Best Mental Exercises for Anxiety and Depression

Effective mental activities can held with anxiety and depression (Image by Andrew Neel / Pexels)
Effective mental activities can held with anxiety and depression (Image by Andrew Neel / Pexels)

We all know how important physical exercise is for our health, but did you know that the right exercises can benefit your mental health, too?

One of the most promising benefits of exercise for people with anxiety and depression is that it provides an alternative way to release and manage stress.

Exercise is a form of physical activity that brings large amounts of oxygen and blood to the muscles. This allows your body to exit the sympathetic fight-or-flight stress response and enter into a state known as homeostasis.

This change in physiological state in response to work-outs allows you to better cope with stressful situations both mentally and physically.


Which are the best exercises for mental health and why?

Mental exercise has been found to have a range of benefits for mental well-being. These activities are designed to improve mental health in a number of different ways, and for symptoms covering a wide range of mental health conditions.

Here, we look at six best activities for mental health that can help people with being in a better psychological state.


#1 Meditation

Helps you to cope with emotional stress. (Image by cottonbro / Pexels)
Helps you to cope with emotional stress. (Image by cottonbro / Pexels)

What's the best way to deal with these negative emotions? Meditation! Yes, meditation! Meditation is a great way to learn how to cope with emotional stress. Here are some tips:

-Start by monitoring your day and understanding when you are likely to experience the most stress. Is it after the morning commute? Arrive a few minutes early to work and meditate.

-Another excellent practise is to meditate before going to bed. Your body will begin to prepare for sleep, and you will feel more relaxed and ready for a restful night's sleep.

-If you like to meditate, consider using incense, candles, or doing hand mudras.


#2 Yoga

Practise mindfullness with yoga. (Image by cottonbro / Pexels)
Practise mindfullness with yoga. (Image by cottonbro / Pexels)

Yoga is a popular way to combine benefits of exercise with benefits of mindfulness. Yoga routines combine controlled breathing and meditation techniques with core exercises to help you improve your mental and physical health. You also have the option of doing yoga on your own or in a group setting.

Joining a class can also surround you with others who may be experiencing similar symptoms of depression and anxiety. This can help you build a valuable network of support to help you through both good and bad days.


#3 Go for long walks

Long walks in nature relieves stress and anxiety (Image by Anastasia Golubeva / Pexels)
Long walks in nature relieves stress and anxiety (Image by Anastasia Golubeva / Pexels)

Taking long walks can be a great way to clear your mind and improve your mental health. But it can also be a great way to help you feel better when you are feeling anxious or depressed.

When you take these walks, force yourself to think about other things besides what is causing you anxiety, depression, or both. You can even set goals for yourself, such as trying to reach 3,000 steps one day or 5,000 steps the next.

This will help you stay motivated and make sure that you're still making progress without feeling overwhelmed, all at once.


#4 Gardening

Working with plants is a healthy way to cope with stress. (Image by Binyamin Mellish / Pexels)
Working with plants is a healthy way to cope with stress. (Image by Binyamin Mellish / Pexels)

Working with plants, especially with your hands, has proven to lessen the severity of depression. It improves concentration and prevents your mind from wandering to negative and unproductive thoughts. Plus, the final product provides a sense of pride.

Plant a few things in your yard or on your windowsill.


#5 Slow Breathing Exercise

Slow breathing calms and soothes your nerves. (Image by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi / Pexels)
Slow breathing calms and soothes your nerves. (Image by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi / Pexels)

People with depression and anxiety tend to breathe too rapidly and shallowly—a pattern called over-breathing. It's a sign that your nervous system is too revved up. Over-breathing helps you breathe out too much carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the gas that keeps your brain and body working properly.

Slow, deep breathing can have an especially soothing effect when you do it in a specific rhythm: about six breaths per minute. This rhythm appears to trigger a relaxation response in the brain and body.


#6 Get creative

Creativity reduces your stress hormone and lifts mood. (Image by Andrea Piacqudio / Pexels
Creativity reduces your stress hormone and lifts mood. (Image by Andrea Piacqudio / Pexels

Studies have shown that many sufferers of anxiety and depression are also highly creative.

If you don’t consider yourself creative, there are other ways to release your stress through self-expression.

Writing, drawing, cooking, graphic design, or crafting are all great ways to unleash your creativity—you just need to find the one that works for you. It has been proven that participating in a creative activity reduces stress and improves mood.

Even if you don’t like the activity at first, give it time and see if it grows on you!


Benefits

• Stress hormones are reduced:

Boosts endorphins and uplifts the mood (Image by Polina Kovaleva / Pexels)
Boosts endorphins and uplifts the mood (Image by Polina Kovaleva / Pexels)

Stress hormones such as cortisol are reduced by exercise. It also improves your mood by boosting endorphins and your body's "feel-good" molecules.

• Exercise boosts self-esteem:

Boosts self-confidence (Image by Blue Bird / Pexels)
Boosts self-confidence (Image by Blue Bird / Pexels)

Exercise can help people lose weight, body toning, and the maintenance of a healthy glow and a grin.

As your clothes become more appealing and you create a stronger aura, you may notice a small but considerable improvement in your mood.

• Exercise serves as a stress reliever:

Helps in combating anxiety and depression. (Image by Andre Furtado / Pexels)
Helps in combating anxiety and depression. (Image by Andre Furtado / Pexels)

Physical activity has been linked to a reduction in stress-related physiological response. Simply put, people who exercise regularly are less likely to be negatively affected by stress.

In addition to all of the other advantages, these work-outs may provide some resistance to future stress as well as a means of coping with current stress.


Takeaways

One of the best things you can do for your mental health is to maintain an active lifestyle. Even if you feel worn out, take some time to exercise or participate in sports. It will do wonders for your mind, body, and overall outlook in life.

Exercise can be the boost that you need to help combat anxiety and depression, and it’s easy to add to your schedule in a way that fits with your current lifestyle.

Poll : How do you cope with stress and anxiety?

I practise yoga & meditation

I go for therapy!

53 votes

Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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