C’mon get happy! Hint: exercise helps

Posted on September 12, 2009


This post hopes to focus you to your pursuit of a high-happiness, high-quality life via exercise. What’s that? You think all the sweating & suffering can’t possibly help you in the happiness dept? Not true! And if you don’t believe me or this post, try it for a month & see for yourself? What’s the worst that can happen? That you begin feeling better about your life & yourself? If it doesn’t work for you, then you can return to your happy-less, grey life just as before. But I bet you won’t!

But for everyone who wants to find any way possible to stay in a happy, positive frame of mind & life, then exercise can be a simple tool to get there. The world we live in can be tough at times, however, it is the outlook of the person that determines if the world’s figurative glass is half-empty or half-full. While having a positive outlook comes mostly from within, there are several external factors that can work for or against you in building strength from within and thus help to have that unwavering positive outlook.

*Recent studies have looked at several of these factors and exercise repeatedly popped into the top of the list. This is a great piece of news, because while some will turn to chemicals- such as anti-depressants which are helpful only in some situations- and others will turn to more recreational chemicals such as alcohol, chocolate, or drugs, exercise is one of the only ways to move your “happiness outlook” higher that is about you and only you and creates a mind/body connection that is sometimes lost in this world. That means that it is you who has the power to create your happiness outlook!

Here are a few of the highlights from studies that link exercise to a happier outlook:

Exercise can create distraction from everyday life and problems. Whether it’s 5 mins in the middle of the workday, or 30 mins before or after work, for that time frame, a good exercise routine should require you to focus on what you are doing to create the best mind/body connection possible.

The mind/body connection is so important in exercise when it comes to proper form for each movement, or for focus on completing the task you set before you i.e. completing a set number of miles in so many minutes or lifting a certain weight with perfect form so many times. Training your brain this way can help when you must think in a similar fashion when dealing with your life’s daily issues.

Exercise can alter your chemical make-up by increasing the flow of neurotransmitters that affect happiness along with the chemicals that allow you to feel a sense of calmness.

– Regular exercise improves the tone and physical fitness of the body which can help the outlook a person has about themselves; not only that they are looking/feeling better and that in turn drives happy feelings, but also the knowing of accomplishment that comes with completing a task or challenge, can assist the brain to feel more positive about their world outlook & their impact on it.

-There is a social connection that is made when exercising around others and this can help a person to feel connected to something in life and can be a factor in improving one’s outlook on life.

– If doing a solo activity for exercise- like running- the time spent burying into ones’ own thoughts can really allow for you to either shut your mind off entirely and just relax (something we rarely do anymore) or to take that time to fully think through any challenges currently being faced and to solve them without any distractions other than the sound of your own breath.

While there are some who exercise because they ‘have to’ not because they ‘want to,’ latching on to any of these reasons as why you are going to go exercise today hopefully helps you see the connection between what you are doing for your body, and how this is helping your mind- and takes you from the ‘have to’ group into the ‘want to’ group.

 Remember, your outlook on life affects every single thing you do and if you have family or friends or co-workers, can even affect them too!