Happiness, like stress, is related to chemical reactions in our body. Endorphins, dopamine and serotonin all play a part in tipping the scale of our mood. Unfortunately, too many of us are trying to influence our mood through alcohol and other substance use, or by sitting in front of the TV or smartphone screen for hours on end.
Before the pandemic, most Canadian adults were spending up to 10 hours a day being sedentary, and those numbers have only gone up since. While these activities may offer some short-term relief, they can have significant negative long-term effects.
The power of movement
The good news is that there’s an easy way to start boosting your mood: exercise. Research consistently shows that regular physical activity is essential for good mental health. Studies have demonstrated that physically active people are more satisfied with their lives and that exercise itself is strongly linked to happiness. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals that reduce feelings of pain and increase feelings of pleasure, literally boosting your mood. At the same time, it also reduces stress hormones, like cortisol, which makes us feel more resilient when met with more stressful situations. In fact, within five minutes after doing moderate exercise, you’re likely to experience a mood-enhancement effect!
Here are some of our best mental health tips, strategies and resources:
Our Happy Better Page is a great starting point to discover how physical activity can have a powerful positive effect on your mental health!
This article is brought to you by the Canadian Mental Health Association and ParticipACTION to raise awareness of the mental health benefits of physical activity and provide actionable solutions to Move for your mood!
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