Keep your chin up—International Day of Happiness is coming on March 20. Coordinated by the Action for Happiness, this is a global campaign emphasizing that progress must not only be measured by economic growth but also by happiness and wellbeing. Member states of the United Nations have adopted resolutions to make people’s happiness a higher priority.
People generally exercise to improve their health and their body, but exercise can also improve mental health. Exercise has been shown to be helpful in managing ADHD, depression, stress, anxiety, and cognitive decline. People don’t have to engage in highly rigorous exercises to achieve results. Even moderate-impact exercises such as walking can influence mood and mental function.
Consider these ways that exercise can boost your outlook:
- Stress relief. Exercise, including a 30-minute walk, can go a long way to reduce the cares and worries of the day.It can help relax your body, clear your head, and help you find solutions.
- Happy chemicals. The brain releases endorphins during exercise. Endorphins react with the receptors in the brain to reduce the perception of pain and trigger positive emotions in the body.
- Higher self-confidence. Feeling sluggish and carrying around extra weight can be hard on the self-image. On the other hand, getting up and going can help people feel good about their personal resolve. There’s no need to look like the cover of a magazine, but knowing that we are making strides to improve our personal appearance can bolster our opinion of ourselves.
- Time in nature. People who exercise outdoors can breathe in fresh air, glimpse the sky, and take notice of foliage that surrounds us. Jogging in the park, hiking in the forest, or swimming in a lake can transport us beyond the walls of the home or office into a varied and beautiful world.
- Mental acuity. Our brain function naturally declines with age. Exercise cannot prevent cognitive decline, but it can certainly arrest it. Exercise has been shown to release chemicals in the brain that slow down the degeneration of brain cells.
Exercise for both your body and mind. You’ll feel stronger and happier and improve your perspective on life.