Your mental health is your general well-being. It’s your ability to get through everyday life with a positive point of view and to bounce back when certain people or events challenge that point of view. Though mental health may seem like an internal process, it’s made up of four key categories—physical, nutritional, emotional, and social. While each component deserves your attention, it’s important to start with the physical, which is defined by your exercise level and the quality of your sleep. When the physical aspect of your well-being is off track, it’s difficult to focus on the other three.
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Why Exercise and Sleep Are Important
Both exercise and sleep, or a lack thereof, can have significant impacts on your mental health.
Exercise is a useful tool in reducing stress and anxiety; it also combats the development of ADHD and depression. Physical activity, in any form, triggers the release of endorphins. These are hormones in your brain and your nervous system, and they work as your body’s natural painkillers. They help relieve physical pain, and they release feelings of pleasure. The more you exercise, the more often endorphins are released. This leads to a boost in your energy level, your mood, and general well-being.
The release of endorphins also helps relieve tension in the body, which directly affects your mind. Without regular exercise, it’s easy to slip into a pattern of negative thoughts, dark feelings, and physical pain or discomfort.
In addition to exercise, sleep is an important part of self-care. Those who suffer from disrupted sleep are at greater risk of developing depression and anxiety than those who get full nights of sleep. Initially, a lack of sleep can cause you to feel lethargic or irritable. But over time, it can cloud your thinking and prevent you from performing at your highest level. This can lead to feelings of frustration and sadness which, if not treated, can become more serious conditions.
Restful, regular sleep gives your mind and body a chance to recover and regenerate, so you can approach each day with a fresh perspective and high level of energy.
How to Improve Exercise and Sleep
To improve both your exercise level and sleep quality, the key is habit. It’s crucial to create a routine that’s realistic and manageable, to increase your chances of success.
To boost your physical activity:
To improve your sleep:
Improving mental health involves several components, with regular exercise and proper sleep you have set the foundation to have the energy for the others to follow.