The previous blog introduced the concept of the “4 point plan” designed to move our lives in a much more positive direction whatever our situation is. The 4 points of the plan are:
- Positive Activity
- Positive Interaction
- Positive Thinking
This blog discusses positive activity. What do we mean by “activity”? It can be anything from running a triathlon to walking your dog, as long as it’s something you enjoy doing. Any form of physical exercise creates lots of our happy chemical, serotonin, which gets us in a much more positive frame of mind. And with that more positive mind set, our problems don’t seem quite as insurmountable.
The positive mental effects of exercise are well established and can be achieved remarkably quickly. Research has shown that a single exercise session immediately increases levels of serotonin, improving our mood and ability to focus. What’s more, regular exercise actually grows the part of our brain which is responsible for motivation, confidence, sense of wellbeing etc. This part of the brain is known as the prefrontal cortex. It also increases the size of the part of our brain responsible for memory – the hippocampus. Think of that…the brain is physically enlarged by exercise! And how much exercise are we talking about here? Three to four sessions per week, lasting 30 minutes. With that, you get to feel happier today. But the other impact of growing our brain with exercise is that we become less prone to cognitive decline in the future. So we’re less likely to suffer from degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
So, what’s stopping you? The thought of exercising can be daunting if you haven’t done any for a long time. But start with a small step – a walk in the park perhaps. Once you’ve started, it becomes easier for it to become part of your life. And your life trajectory will be changed for the better.
Here’s a link to a talk by a neuroscientist which describes just how good exercise is for the brain: