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Counseling & Social Service Message February 2020

How being active can help your mental health 

Depression is widely prevalent and is actually the leading cause of disability in the world. Some of the common symptoms of depression include poor appetite, poor sleep patterns, having negative ruminating thoughts, and poor energy levels. 

However, there are some steps that you can take to reduce the risk of episodes of Depression, even in individuals with a genetic predisposition to the condition. A recent study has found that incorporating more physical activity — whether high-intensity dance, aerobic, or machines to more low-intensity yoga or walks — for 4 hours per week (or approximately 35 minutes per day) can help decrease the chances of depressive episodes by 17 percent. Furthermore, increasing exercise and spending more time outdoors can also help with seasonal affective disorder or “winter blues.” 

Experts agree that exercise can: 

  • help improve general physical well-being, sleep, appetite, and energy levels, thus helping recover from depression   
  • stimulates the brain to release neurochemicals like endorphins, the ‘happy hormone,’ or the body’s natural painkiller and helps with stress relief and pain  
  • helps prompt the release of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, which are also linked to feelings of well-being and happiness 
  • health benefits of exercise are weight reduction, regulating blood sugar, reducing the risk of heart disease. 

And it’s never too late to start getting more physical — whatever your age. As long as you enjoy what you’re doing, it may become part of your lifestyle and, ultimately, help you stay happier, longer. 

How to add more activity to your life 

Join a dance club or simply register with your local walking group. Group activities have the added benefit of helping to improve social interactions. Social isolation makes depression worse. 

Any form of low to high intensity activity works, such as swimming, walking, running, aerobic exercise, dancing, cycling, gardening, yoga, Pilates — even household chores that involve physical movement, such as climbing up and down stairs. 

Reach out to the Aisling Center for more information on our programs.  


For more information on how you can make changes to improve your wellness, The Aisling Center Counseling and Social Services is offering a Wellness Workshop on Wednesday, February 26, at 6:30pm. 

Prolonged exposure to stress may increase susceptibility to chronic diseases, such as physical and mental health conditions, and reduce overall quality of life. Healthy behaviors, such as stress management, physical activity, and healthy nutrition have a positive impact on wellness and quality of life. The purpose of the workshop is to empower and equip our community members to take charge of their health and well-being, and live life to the fullest.  

There are several components that contribute to our overall wellness. 

Participants in the Workshop  

  • Working the Body (Energy and flexibility) 
  • Recharge (Sleep and Refresh) 
  • Food and Drink (Nourishing & fueling) 
  • Personal Development (Personal life and work life) 
  • Relationships with family, friends and co-workers 
  • Spirit and soul (Growing and connecting) 
  • Surroundings (Physical and Emotional) 
  • Power of the Mind (Relaxing and healing) 
  • Professional care (prevention and clinical care) 

During the workshop, participants will assess their satisfaction with those areas of their lives: and will have the opportunity to set their own personal goals for areas in which they determine they would like to improve.  

We will provide participants with resources for assistance in meeting goals. In addition, a Diabetes Prevention Master Coach has generously offered to provide free workshops for people who wish to make changes in the areas of Working the Body and Food and Drink.  

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