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Actions for happiness #3

Few people these days appreciate how connected the body and mind are.  What we eat, how we sleep, and how active we are affects our moods.  And how we are feeling affects our energy levels, our appetite and even our ability to carry out activities.

So why is this so often disregarded as an influence on happiness and wellbeing?  Of course, there is no simple answer.  I am pleased to see more and more GPs prescribing exercise for both good physical AND mental health.  What could be better? Two for the price of one!

But people don’t exercise for mental health, for the same reasons they don’t for their physical health – too busy, not very sporty, lack confidence, can’t afford it, really don’t feel like it or feel well enough, and so on.  All perfectly reasonable………except it is our lives we are talking about.

The world would be a better place if we made more time to exercise.  I’m rearranging my life a little this week so I can try out a new badminton club; I get up early to go for runs before work.  It’s not easy or ideal, but most of us don’t have the Hollywood lifestyle with a personal trainer and a gym at home, coupled with the time to actually use them.

Exercise can lift our mood, give us purpose and it obviously has dual benefits.  It also can be a way to have time for ourselves or, alternatively, time with others.  We don’t have to run marathons, climb mountains or swim the Channel.  But who knows? Maybe we just might.

This Christmas, make time to balance all that food and festivity with some good old, freezing cold walks, cycles, runs, and maybe even swims.  I bet it will make those mince pies taste even better.

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