National Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week: Running not only improves health, it’s good for sanity too

Most people experience mood swings some day or the other, making us feel anxious, depressed, or low. It is normal for a person to experience such emotions as it is possibly a reaction to some potentially dangerous situations. But when such feelings of depression and anxiety persist, it is probably a symptom of developing a mental health condition.

When suffering from a mental health condition, it is important to undergo effective treatment at the right time. Delaying treatment can exacerbate the condition. Though therapies, medications and counseling sessions are some of the proven ways to curb the development of mental disorders, researchers have now proved that running can also act as an effective remedy to curb the development of stress, anxiety and depression.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year. It is, therefore, important to help people know about the effective ways to treat, and take preventive measures and keep mental illnesses at bay wherever possible. To spread awareness about the need for treatment of anxiety and depression, the U.S. observes National Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week during the second week of May – from May 7 to May 13 – to focus on the prevalence of the two serious mental disorders and their serious effects if left untreated.

Running to combat anxiety and depression

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) are two of the most common crippling conditions affecting an individual’s ability to stay mentally and physically healthy. A great way to improve one’s overall happiness, health and well-being, running can address numerous issues related to anxiety and depression.

Here are some reasons why running helps combat the development of anxiety and depression symptoms:

  • Running helps one to get in good shape, which helps boosts confidence and appreciation for oneself. This, in turn, helps keep the feelings of depression and anxiety under control.
  • Running helps one feel more at peace with oneself by boosting the release of endorphins, the neurotransmitters in the human body that make one feel happy.
  • Running keeps one engaged and thus helps him/her to avoid thinking about the factors that might trigger his/her stress and anxiety.
  • Running tires an individual physically, activating hormonal and biological forces, which helps reduce stress levels and increase energy levels enabling one to sleep soundly.
  • Running helps one find a purpose in life, whether it is staying physically fit and active, losing weight or any other. This instills positivity in a person, thus curbing the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Running improves one’s concentration level, which protects the brain from getting caught up in baseless and negative thoughts and emotions that might trigger anxiety.

Treatment is important

Mental illnesses can manifest in multiple ways, such as stress, GAD or MDD. The development of these mental health disorders leads to the occurrence of their symptoms, including unexplained pains, loos of interest in activities, irritation, panic attacks, extreme or no hunger and agitation, to name a few.

Engaging oneself in physical activities, such as exercising, walking and running, are some of the effective ways to treat one’s mental illness. Opting for a traditional way to treat mental illness, such as medications, is also recommended, but only in consultation with a mental health expert.

In case you or someone you know is dealing with depression, anxiety or any other form of mental illness, 24/7 Mental Health Helpline can help. Call our 24/7 helpline number 855-653-8178 for help find the best mental health therapist in your vicinity. You can also chat online with one of our representatives to know more about some of the latest mental health facilities across the country.