In these times of uncertainty, it can be quite challenging to think about taking care of one’s physical and mental health when you might be concerned about keeping safe and taking care of others around you. When we are feeling tired from lack of sleep or from stress of being pulled in different directions, it can feel frivolous or impossible even, to take the time to look after ourselves. Yet, in order to work through and manage any of these feelings, we need to have a daily reserve of energy that we can draw on.
We can do better for ourselves and others when we take better care of ourselves. Research indicates that even a small amount of exercise (brief walk, yoga stretch, ball stretch or bike ride) can release that important chemical sometimes called the “FeelGood” transmitter : Dopamine.
This chemical that our brain creates will then be released when our brain is expecting a reward! AND this increases if we associate the upcoming activity with a reward.
SO the next time you are eating that food you crave or you are enjoying pleasure of other activities like having sex with your partner, give into that feeling and allow yourself to recharge your batteries. Be sure to include other physical activities like a swim or walk around the block so you experience that boost of energy we all require.
*Remember that Dopamine plays a part in several different brain functions like our decision making, motor control, arousal and motivation. The more we try to be active, we will feel more content and prepared to face our daily challenges that are presented to us.
Take care of you,
About the author: Christine Coyne, She/her, MA Counseling Psychology, Registered Psychotherapist – I currently work as a full-time clinician with families and individuals who struggle with mental health issues as well as dual diagnoses. I offer several modalities to suit your needs, be it ACT, DBT, Solution Focused Therapy, Exposure Work, Trauma Focus or Attachment Based Therapy. Most of my focus has been working with transitional aged youth or adults.