Many of us know that making physical health a priority enhances mental well being. When exercise is discussed, the word “endorphin” is often mentioned. Endorphins are hormones released during exercise that can cause positive feelings in the body and reduce pain. A myriad of research shows that exercise on its own can reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, and even reduce symptoms of depression.
The big problem when people are depressed is that they often feel immobilized and unmotivated to take part in healthy habits and routines. I often hear patients say that it’s overwhelming to even think about healthy norms. I always stress the importance of taking one step at a time. If we focus on the big picture too much, we forget that the little details and small steps matter just as much.
It starts with having a plan. When patients express an interest in returning to exercise and eating right, we talk about each of the little steps they can take, such as short walks and runs, and taking classes at the local gym and eating whole foods. As my patients proceed with TMS treatments they do a little more each week. I’ve seen our patients do incredible things like getting scuba certified, running more and more miles each week, making time to go to exercise classes, and riding bikes. It doesn’t happen overnight….it’s one step at a time. All we have to do is start planning and stick to the small goals that we make for each day!