Beat the Blues & Improve Your Health

By Amanda Upchurch, ATC

Beat the Blues & Improve your Health

Life can throw unexpected difficulties, problems, and sadness our way. We live in a culture that is constantly seeking instant gratification and the opportunity to get something for nothing.

image of woman doing outside yoga class

Yoga is a mood-boosting exercise

People often want benefits without work and satisfaction without sacrifice. Depression and anxiety are on the rise in Western society, affecting one-in-six people at some point in their life. Prozac and its competitors have spawned best-selling books, racked up sales of more than $10 billion annually, and reshaped the clinical treatment of depression. Anti-depressants are a quick fix but often have side effects such as tremors, nausea, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and complications with other drugs.

Exercise Helps Beat the Blues & Improve Your Health

image of female and male riding bikes on a wooded trail

Exercise helps beat the blues.

A growing body of literature shows that aerobic routines and weight lifting are effective at combating depression. Exercise is useful in managing feelings of depression and anxiety for several reasons:

  •  Increases self-confidence and enhances self-esteem by gaining new skills, improving body image, becoming fitter, and looking healthier.
  • The benefits last longer than quick-fixes such as comfort-eating, smoking, or caffeine consumption.
  • Exercise triggers your body to produce endorphins (feel-good chemicals), allowing you to feel better and happier instantly.
  • Exercise removes the build-up of stress hormones hindering wellbeing, causing headaches, fatigue, loss of concentration, and insomnia.

Mood-Boosting Foods

Your diet can actually help beat the blues and improve your health. Below is a list of mood-boosting foods:

image of man preparing salad in kitchen

Fresh healthy food helps beat the blues.

  • Dark green leafy vegetables – spinach, kale, and broccoli
  • Salmon
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Yogurt
  • Berries – strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries
  • Green tea

Essential oils often have a calming effect. Research has shown the use of essential oils can help beat the blues. These include:

image of bottles of essential oils to help beat the blues

Mood-boosting essential oils

  • Lavender
  • Sweet Basil
  • Chamomile
  • Jasmine
  • Sweet Orange
  • Sandalwood

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Research also supports that there is a round-the-clock relief that sets in several weeks after the establishment of a regular exercise routine. It is best to start with a short duration and increase gradually.

People who are depressed may not feel much like being active, but they should make themselves do it anyway. Once people get into the exercise habit, it won’t take long to notice a change in mood and a newly discovered sense of motivation and urgency to exercise.

The Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute offers physical therapy at 12 convenient locations across Northeast Florida. Physical therapy is a conservative approach to treating disease, injury, or deformity. To make an appointment, call 904-858-7045.

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