Researchers Find That Combining Mediation & Exercise Can Reduce Depression

We often associate so many negative emotions with hitting the gym.

“I don’t have time.”

“I’m not in the mood.”

“It hurts!”

But it’s a good hurt though, and I’m not just saying that. We actually release ‘feel-good hormones called endorphins after working up a sweat. We also have similar excuses for skipping out on mediation. But I’m a major advocate for both because they can truly make you happier and are great forms of self-care.

Let’s get a little scientific for a minute.

Every day the learning division of our brain called the hippocampus produces thousands of neurons. However, stress can cause strain on this process and decrease the production of those neurons. This is where getting active and exercising your mind comes into play. Exercise and mediation combined can significantly increase those cells, which improve your brain function and overall mental health.

At the end of the study, every student reported that they spent less time focusing on problems and were able to prevent negative thoughts from reoccurring

Researchers at Rutgers University conducted a two-month study that involved 22 students who were diagnosed with depression and 30 students who were mentally healthy. Twice a week every student was required to take part in Focused Attention Mediation, in which they remained focused on their breathing for 30 minutes. Their mediation was followed by a 30-minute aerobic workout. At the end of the study, every student (including the ones deemed mentally healthy) reported that they spent less time focusing on problems and were able to prevent negative thoughts from reoccurring by managing problems more effectively.

“By learning to focus their attention and exercise, people who are fighting depression can acquire new cognitive skills that can help them process information and reduce the overwhelming recollection of memories from the past,” says Tracey Shor a professor in Rutgers’s Department of Psychology.

Committing just one hour to your mental health can create a domino effect and impact the way you handle stress at work and home.

Even if you’re not battling depression, exercise and mediation can both improve your mood and help you deal with problems. Committing an hour to your mental health can create a domino effect and impact the way you handle stress at work and home. Focusing on negativity and stress takes up time and can decrease productivity. Even taking a 20-minute break in the middle of a hectic day to meditate can help you relax and focus on the task at hand. Can’t find time to go to the gym? Try working out at home. The key is making exercise and meditation more convenient for you. It will be so much easier to incorporate them into your routine so you can reap the benefits.

Have you forgiven yourself lately? Learn how to do it and why it’s an essential part of your self-care.

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