Theme Thursday: Exercise vs. Medication

Anxiety.

Stress.

Hostility.

How many times have you experienced these in the past week? These are emotions that we all go through on a regular basis. For some of us, these emotions reach a clinical level where they have a marked impact of our day-to-day life functioning. For others, these emotions can distract, derail, or dampen our day.

Many Americans quickly go to medication to help solve their mental health struggles; even when not to the point of being clinically significant. According to drugabuse.gov (click link for specific page), the United States makes up 5% of the world population and consumers 75% of prescription drugs. Understand that this is not solely psychiatric drugs, but it does seem to infer that Americans are quick to use medication as an answer.

Why? I cannot answer for everyone, but I would like to suggest it is because we like to think we are addressing our issues, but do not desire to put in the work that takes significant time, effort, and self-examination. Many of us are so uncomfortable with simply being quiet for long enough(see here) that we are not able to address our underlying thoughts, fears, and feelings; much less carving out significant time to address them head on. But at least we are doing something… Something quick, something easy, something with side effects, something that is proven to not be as helpful without counseling in conjunction, something expensive, something potentially addictive, something mind altering…

**Something that could possibly be addressed through pursuing physical wellness.**

Otto and Smits (2011) said, “The mood benefits of exercise are supported by striking scientific evidence. Exercise can be as powerful as antidepressant medications in treating depression, and, more broadly, regular exercise is linked with decreased anxiety, stress, and hostility” (p. 7).

And now, we are back to where I started this post.

Are you willing to get started or re-started on pursuing physical fitness as a part of your mental wellness regimen? This is as simple as starting at a 10 minute walk per day. I would love to consult with you to see what is a realistic first step you can make to do better for your mind and your body.

 

You can go here for ideas on workouts.
Here for a way to address nutrition.
Listen to how exercise and nutrition has recently affected my life.
Here how you can be a help to others in their journey toward physical wellness.
Or comment below/fill out the contact form below!

Reference

Exercise for Mood and Anxiety, Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being, by Michael W. Otto, PhD, and Jasper A.J. Smits, PhD (Oxford University Press, 2011)

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