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Deeply Rooted in Healthful Living

By Makensie Baker, CSW

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I grew up living a very active lifestyle; involved in many extracurricular activities in my childhood, sports throughout high school and college, and now competing in races and staying active today. There are multiple reasons for why I continue to live this way. However, the most important reason is that it helps me relax and feel better mentally.

Mindfulness is a wonderful technique that I often use with my clients to help them slow down and be more in-tune with their thoughts, sensations, and emotions. Exercise and being physically active is a form of mindfulness for me, it is a way to gather my thoughts, understand my emotions and physical sensations surrounding an event in my life.I believe that we cannot be effective in our relationships, occupation, education, and various roles until we can feel okay about ourselves.

Many clients that I work with struggle with depression and anxiety, which affects their ability to feel comfortable and be effective in the various aspects of their lives. Importantly, many researchers state that exercise alleviates chronic depression and anxiety by increasing serotonin, the neurotransmitter targeted by antidepressants. It has also been found that exercise impacts circadian rhythms, promoting a deeper and more restful sleep. Another theory suggests exercise helps normalize sleep, which is known to have positive effects on the brain.

Regular exercise, in whatever form it takes for you; taking a walk around the block, gardening, washing your car, skiing, running, biking, yoga, and so on, is proven to help alleviate those negative symptoms that often come up in our lives. Not only does exercise release positive hormones into the brain to help you feel better mentally, but it also helps you feel better physically. Exercise helps us to feel more confident and be able to tackle the struggles that we all face on a daily basis.