Recently I was reading through some social media material when I came across an article that caught my attention. It was a post on running, something I do several times a week. The post was a response to a question that someone had posted on Facebook asking how to get out for a run on “tough days” when you really don’t feel into it. The response was one that resonated with me both as a runner, therapist, and someone that has experienced various difficult times in life myself.
The writer responded, explaining that even on the most challenging days, after the first 7 minutes of her run, endorphins would kick in and she would feel her initial hesitation that she had experienced prior to starting her run disappear. To the point that she may even be able to run 10 or 15 minutes or longer depending on the day.
Even though being active or getting involved socially is something majority of us would shy away from when we feel anxious, sad, angry, or depressed, it is very helpful for coping.
When I think back to the techniques I have seen work with my own clients using Behavioural Activation (a technique that helps build on small amounts of goal-oriented activity), I know it’s true that a small amount of activity can have a large impact on helping to regulate moods, especially in the case of anxiety and depression.
As simple as it may sound today I invite you to take just a few moments to do some kind of activity to get your endorphins (those feel-good chemicals in the brain) going. It could be going for a quick walk, doing a few jumping jacks, push-ups, climbing some stairs, or taking a different parking spot. Alternatively, you may want to spend just a few moments getting connected and active socially, it could mean making a phone call, or joining a local social club or community group. After you complete the activity check in with yourself and see if you feel better or worse then before you completed the task.
I invite you to experiment to see what type of impact 7 minutes of exercise or activity will have on your day!