Mental Health and Physical Fitness

Time and health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted. Denis Waitley

In researching this I found that all the major institutes that focus on mental health agree that mental health and physical activity go hand in hand. The World Health Organization in their constitution defines “health” as such:

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Growing up I was always active, I would walk everywhere, I worked part time starting in grade seven. In the summer I would work in the tomato fields picking them. It was quite the distance to walk there and back, but I never gave it a second thought.

I can see now how that physical activity correlate with great mental health. This year has been stressful for me in that regards. In the beginning of my hip problem I was still able to get out of the house to do my shopping. Still able to take care of household chores, or to walk across to go visit at my best friend’s house.

Now I do not have the ability to do my own shopping, to do the little things around my house. It really has been a struggle to keep my mental health from deteriorating into a black hole.

The Mental Health Organization United Kingdom writes this:

Physical activity in any form is a great way to keep you physically healthy as well as improving your mental wellbeing. Research shows that doing exercise influences the release and uptake of feel-good chemicals called endorphins in the brain. Even a short burst of 10 minutes brisk walking increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood. Read the Let’s Get Physical report for more on the positive health benefits of physical activity.

Physical activity means any movement of your body that uses your muscles and expends energy. From tending your garden to running a marathon, even gentle forms of exercise can significantly improve your quality of life. For more tips on the ways in which you can build physical activity into your routine, download our Let’s get physical booklet.

So dear reader, please accept my advice, do not take your ability to do physical activity, even just walking a dog, is a great tool in keeping your great mental health intact!

Treading…

treading-water-clipart-4

You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.”

Timber Hawkeye

Sometimes I find myself thinking of how I was before I saw a psychiatrist and started taking medications to treat me for being bi-polar, it makes shudder.

I truly do not know how I survived throughout that time.  I would become enraged at the most insignificant thing.  I would scream, cry, threaten to move, and on and on and on.  I was a total mess.  There were times I would be up all night sitting at my computer just wasting time, then sleep most of the next day.

I was someone who really was overwhelmed with all types of anxieties.  Never knew when I would have a panic attack, did not know anything about what is called “triggers”.

Everything came to a full blown explosion.  After my grandmother died in 2004 I lost myself overtaken by grief.  It just wasn’t her death, but it was on top of losing my mother four years later.  I started plotting how I would take my life.  I started giving all my food to my best friend.  There was nothing logical about the things I was doing, and to be honest I truly didn’t really care.  After a couple of hours my best friend finally realized what I was planning.  All that I know was a short time later I was being escorted into a police car, on my way to the hospital to be admitted to the Mental Health Ward in the local hospital.

I was like someone who jumped into the wrong end of the pool and finding out you are in over your head.  Now from what I understand is never start flailing your arms around like crazy.  This burns up your energy, the best thing you can do until help arrives is, just tread water.

I really do not have much permanent memories of my first admittance for treatment.  I do remember how I felt.  I was going through the motions, but I was totally disconnected from everything happening around me.

So, now when I start feeling overwhelmed, just stop flailing my arms wasting my energy.  I just need to just tread water until help arrives!