I love exercise. I love it for myself. I love it for my clients. I love it to treat depression and anxiety. What makes it so valuable for me as a person and a clinician is how it makes me and other people feel.
I will always remember the movie “Legally Blonde” when Elle Woods discussed her view on exercise and mental health: “I just don’t think that Brooke could’ve done this. Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t”.
This is an important lesson because endorphins do make you happy. Endorphins are a chemical that is released into the body to specifically make you feel better. For a better understanding of endorphins, check out The Babble Out.
Whenever people come in for therapy, especially for my specialty of anxiety and depression, one of the first things I ask is if they are exercising. If they aren’t, it’s often my first suggestion. I know it’s not exactly a mental health technique but I believe in the value of making yourself feel better both in the session and outside.
Exercise comes in all shapes and sizes, just like people do. I personally love to walk my dog and go to yoga. I tried Crossfit but I didn’t enjoy it so why do something I don’t enjoy?
Make your exercise routine work for you. In the beginning it’s all about getting motivated. The next goal can be to lose weight or bulk up or whatever goal you have in mind.
So start from your beginning and make a commitment to exercise. If you aren’t exercising at all, then plan to walk three times this week. If you already exercise on a regular basis, try a new class like yoga or Zumba. Pinterest also has many suggestions for workout routines you can do. Try something new and see how it works for you.
If you come in to see me as a client, be prepared that I will ask you for a commitment to an exercise plan. I believe in a holistic approach to mental health treatment which includes your physical body, as well as your emotional one.
Good luck with your new exercise routine and feel free to comment about your favorite exercises.
Amanda Patterson, LMHC, CAP decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Since then, she has started a private practice in Davie Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety relationship issues, and substance abuse. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here. For a free 15-minute consultation, call or text Amanda at 954-258-8845 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.