Movement as a Mood Enhancer

So, yesterday was what could be objectively described as a somewhat challenging day. You know the funny thing about it though? None of it phased me. I just got on and dealt with it. In fact I achieved a ton of stuff despite the obstacles and ended up feeling pretty pleased with myself.

The secret to my cheeriness? No, not some kind of latent masochism. The key to facing into the day with positivity and coping with whatever it threw at me was very simple, totally natural and available to all. I started the day (well, after breakfast and school run) with some good old fashioned exercise.

In this instance it was a trip to the gym. A good old-fashioned dog walk would also have done the trick but our skinny greyhound was having none of it yesterday. He took one look at the weather and stood shivering on the doorstep, begging to go back indoors. If he wasn’t game, I certainly wasn’t going to brave hailstones and lightning either, so the warm, dry gym it was.

It may sound simplistic but getting my energy moving first thing in the morning with some brisk exercise really sets the tone for my entire day. I don’t always get (or make) the time for it. Sometimes I just get out of the habit and forget how good it makes me feel. But then something will happen to remind me.

It might be getting out for a day of climbing – nothing like a stiff walk in carrying a pack of gear to get the blood pumping, topping it off with some (hopefully) flowing movement on rock is like the icing on the cake. The union of the physical movement with a calm mental focus. That’s certainly enough to remind me.

Or it might be having a day when I suddenly realise I’m moody as hell. If my mood is up and down and jaggedy as a very jagged thing, when I’m done shouting at everyone for being so annoying, I’ll realise that maybe I need to get out and get moving physically. It’s like a cry for help from my mind that can be answered by my body. A change of state is needed.

Of course it’s nicer to come at it from the positive reminder but at least it shows that negative moods do have their purposes and message too. (Other than the message that every one else in the world is an a*$hole)

What about you? Does exercise and movement work for you as a mood enhancer? Or have you ever tried it?


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