Reviewed by: Erica Grandjean, APD, BNutr&Diet
When you’re stressed, tired and overwhelmed, mustering the energy for a workout seems impossible.
The couch feels like a more viable option when your mind is overloaded with negative thoughts.
However, research confirms that getting active is one of the best ways to improve your mood and build overall resilience. It can even help prevent the onset of depression.
The trick is to read your body’s warning signs, sweat it out, and stop yourself from dipping into a low mood.
Here are 7 signs your mind could do with a good workout
1. Sleep quality has gotten poorer
This is a big one. When you’re in a heightened state of anxiety, or hyper-vigilance as it’s sometimes referred to, good-quality sleep is nearly impossible to achieve.
Your mind will be overworked and overthinking; things that kill a good night’s rest.
2. Your eating habits have changed
We know that emotional overeating is a serious problem for a lot of people, and it can also be a sign that your natural feel-good chemicals in the brain are in deficit.
Certain foods will trigger a quick release of dopamine which, while temporarily giving you a high, is a short-lived solution. It can also lead to toxic habits.
So if you do find yourself craving sugary or fatty foods more often, it may be time to examine your emotional wellbeing.
3. You’re irritated by smaller things
Constant irritation is a classic sign that something’s wrong. You sweat the small stuff, and even minor things become a huge issue.
While there’s a biochemical reason for this, it also indicates you’re not getting your needs met on an emotional level.
The clarity and calm that comes from a good workout will help you see what’s really going on.
4. You can’t concentrate
A lack of concentration is another sign of both a low mood and depression.
The endorphins released during a workout help with mental clarity – so get moving!
5. Your motivation has gone
So, you’ve started a new activity or commitment, you’ve hit your first obstacle, and you’re ready to quit right now. Sound familiar?
If your motivation is disappearing, it’s a big indication that something’s amiss.
6. You’ve become uncharacteristically hermit-like
Some people prefer solo down time, which is totally normal. But for those who go from being a social butterfly to skipping lunch dates, it could be a sign that you need to take stock of your wellbeing.
7. Increased feelings of unease or anxiety
If you’re finding everyday tasks are overwhelming you – and your mind is consumed with worried, worst-case-scenario thoughts – it’s time to slow down, breathe and set aside time for getting active, pronto.
For the month of September, we’ve partnered with The Black Dog Institute to support their Exercise Your Mood Campaign – something we feel very strongly about here at 12WBT! Click here to find out more about their research, and how exercise can improve your resilience and overall wellbeing.
If you or someone you know is in crisis please call one of the following national helplines:
Lifeline: 13 11 14
beyondblue: 1300 22 4636
For more information about mental health and wellbeing, please visit the Black Dog Institute (LINK: https://blackdoginsitute.org.au/mental-health-wellbeing )