On March 20, people around the globe celebrate the emotion of happiness. Coordinated by a non-profit movement called Action for Happiness, this campaign focuses on a global attitude shift. The thrust of the campaign is that progress should not just be measured by the economy but also by people’s sense of contentment and wellbeing. In accordance with this initiative, member states of the United Nations have adopted resolutions that call for giving greater priority to happiness.
While many people understand that exercise can improve the body, they often underestimate the power that fitness can have on the mind. Health professionals advocate for increased physical activity to help with ADHD, stress, anxiety, and depression. Exercise can elevate moods and memory. It has even been associated with delaying the onset of cognitive decline among the elderly.
Consider these exercise benefits that can contribute to a better mental outlook:
- Happy chemicals – Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for the feeling of happiness and pleasure, is released into the brain during exercise. People lose their stores of dopamine as they age, which explains why some elderly people may have a greater disposition toward grumpiness. Exercise can help restore dopamine in the brain.
- Stress relief – Exercising helps relieve the stress of day-to-day living, allowing people to feel less tense in their brain and body.
- Energy – People often feel tired at the end of the day, leaving them with no energy to exercise. However, if they can somehow get themselves to the gym, they often find that they have enough vigor to execute a meaningful workout. What’s more, they leave feeling far more energetic than when they started.
- Improved self-confidence – Feeling out of shape or sluggish can adversely affect many aspects of your life. Exercising can make you look better and increase your vitality, ultimately bolstering your self-image.
- Better sleep – Poor sleep habits can take a sizeable toll on your mood and mental state. Exercise has been shown to help people sleep better at night.
Use International Day of Happiness as a catalyst to improve your mood long-term, and don’t overlook the importance of exercise in the process.