We all go through rough patches from time to time – some of us more so than others. And although we deal with our emotions in different ways, there’s one thing we can do to make sure we don’t push ourselves over the edge. It’s not a new concept but that thing is exercise.
Sometimes we’d rather do anything (think major surgery) before resorting to exercise, but studies have found that different kinds of exercises have the ability to shape, affect and direct our moods. For example, there are certain sports we should avoid like the plague when we’re angry, and vice versa. Here are some of our strongest moods and what we should do when we’re experiencing them.
Obviously, feeling angry isn’t the best thing in the world. Our blood is rushing to our head, we can’t think straight and all we can see is red. The only thing we want is to punch someone in the face and then down a bottle of wine. However, there are better and more healthy alternatives to this. Why not head to the nearest gym and go to town with the punching bags? Better yet – take your anger out on some of the poor souls in the ‘boxercise’ classes. After all, they signed up for it! Many anger management classes even employ boxing as a means to help eliminate anger, so we know it’s legit. Go for it.
The aim here is to maintain our happiness levels. This can be difficult because our moods change so quickly, especially when our lives are as hectic are they are. We need to find something not too intense – yet something that’s full of endorphins to achieve that natural high. One sport that fits this criteria is running – and no, running’s not going to kill us. We just need to choose an intensity we can adhere to without scarring ourselves for life. One great place for light jogging is along the beach – where the ocean will provide an excellent scenic backdrop. If we’re feeling really adventurous, we can even go for a dip afterwards!
The last thing we want to do when we’re sad is hit the gym or perform something equally as excruciating. However, exercise gives us endorphins and endorphins make us happy. Yes, we know chocolate does that too, but it’s not as effective and chocolate makes us fat. So, balance it out and do something that makes you happy. Dancing is great for sadness because our bodies respond positively to movement. Research has found that we’re programmed to ‘jump for joy’ when we’re happy and ‘slump’ when we’re sad, so trick your body into thinking you’re happy by dancing up a storm. It really works – our brains react to messages and signals from the brain – it’s science.
One word: yoga. The goal here is to zen your stress levels and chill the hell out. We know that taking time to do this can be annoying, especially when we’ve got a million other things to do, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Experts believe there are psychological benefits to yoga, as it has the ability to help us ‘return to meaningful activity’ and provide a sense of accomplishment. “Exercise may be a way of biologically toughening up the brain so stress has less of a central impact,” said Michael Otto, a professor of psychology at Boston University. “Exercise has such broad effects that my guess is that there are going to be multiple mechanisms at multiple levels.”
So, there you have it! Exercise can pull us out of those nasty moods. Now, all we need to do is remember that before our next emotional meltdown.