Mental Health

Mental Health Image - Photo credit MicrosoftThe way that we think and feel about ourselves have an impact on our physical health. Many times food is connected with our feelings of being loved and nurtured. Food is sometimes used as a reward for doing a good job or to soothe the pain or hurt that we feel when disappointed. In other cases, when we have low self-esteem or a poor attitude about our self-image, food can turn into an enemy causing starvation or eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia.

Our mental health is an important part of fitness. Depression can play a role in our attitude toward losing weight and being fit. When people do not see fitness results fast enough, they give up and resort back to their bad habits and mindsets. At times, they become depress and do not even realize it.

Below are three types of depression that can affect your attitude and ability to get started on a fitness program:

  1. Dysthymia is a less severe type of depression. It involves behavior that does not disable the person but keeps he or she from functioning in a sound mind or having good feelings. The person may allow negative thoughts to dictate their thinking, mood or behavior. Many people have experience these episodes at some point in their life and are usually able to bounce back from them.

  2. Major depressive disorder interferes with a person's ability to work, study, sleep, eat or interact with others or participate in activities. Some people can fall into a black hole of depression where they are torn between living and being enclosed from the world.

  3. Bipolar disorder (also called manic-depressive) is a cycle of mood swings or changes that are severe high (mania) or low (depression). The mood switches can be dramatic and rapid but are usually gradual. When the person is in the mania cycle, he or she may be overactive, talkative, and filled with a lot of energy. Their thinking, judgment and social behavior may affect the way he or she interacts that can cause serious problems. When the person is in the depressive cycle, they become disable affecting their ability to work, study, sleep, eat or interact with others or even participate in activities.

Our mental health affects our attitude toward living a fulfilled life. There are many mental disorders that may require medication and/or psychological therapy or treatment that will help manage the symptoms. Physical exercise can help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. Exercise decreases stress hormones while increasing the hormones known as endorphins which will naturally boost your mood and make you feel good. Physical activity correlates with good mental health that keeps the mind and body functioning well as a whole.

For more information for the National Institutes of Health: