Depression is a very devastating mental disorder. Not only does it cause severe emotional pain, stress, and anxiety, but it can also ruin a person's career and social life.

Though the word depression is thrown around without much care these days, you need to understand that depression is different from momentary sadness. It is a state of hopelessness, which is accompanied by low self-esteem, self-blaming, and hatred. It causes people to lose interest in everything and has severely detrimental physical effects on your mind and body.

Therefore, it is important that people with depression have some mechanisms to fight it, and the people that support them need to encourage them to participate in healthy activities. One of the best ways to fight depression is pursuing physical fitness.

Here are eight ways in which fitness can help you in the fight against depression.

Exercise can help you fight stress:

Fight Stress

Chronic stress is a frequent cause of depression, and it can have severe negative impacts on our mental and physical health. Moreover, depression and stress go hand in hand, depression increases a person's stress levels, and stress can trigger depressive episodes as well.

Therefore, we must find ways to counter everyday stress. Exercising is an excellent way of countering stress. When we go out for a run or do some light aerobic exercises, feel-good hormones like serotonin and dopamine can be released in our body, which helps counter the symptoms of stress and make depressed people feel slightly better for a while.

However, keep in mind that intense exercises can actually increase your stress levels. So, stick to light and aerobic exercise, and make sure to stay hydrated while working out.

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A healthy fitness routine helps you sleep better:

The sleep cycles of a depressed person can vary. Some people have trouble sleeping, while others may sleep for too long. Either way, irregular sleep cycles can have a negative impact on our mental health and can make depression worse.

However, if you follow a healthy fitness routine, and exercise every day, it can help you sleep better.

You should exercise a few hours before your regular sleeping time so that your body doesn't get used to peeking when you are about to sleep. When you rest after exercising, your body starts to cool down, and it can also promote the discharge of melatonin, which is a sleep-inducing hormone.

A healthy diet and exercise can improve your cognitive ability:

Diet

Our diet has a very important impact on our mind, and a healthy and nutritional diet can increase your cognitive ability and make it easier to deal with depression.

According to a study done in 2017, people who have high levels of omega-3s in their diet have an increased blood flow to their brain. In this study, researchers also found a connection between increased omega-3 levels and stronger cognitive abilities.

The results of the study suggested that eating foods like fish that are high in omega-3s can boost your brain.

Here are some other foods that are good for your brain:

  • Dark chocolate
  • Berries
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Coffee
  • Avocadoes

Fitness can improve your self-esteem:

One of the most disastrous impacts of depression is that it can diminish your self-esteem. People with depression constantly blame themselves for everything. They feel like they are a strain on their friends and family members. These feelings of self-hatred and low self-esteem can also turn to self-harm and thoughts of suicide if they aren't checked.

However, pursuing physical fitness allows you to feel better about yourself. You feel better because you are engaging in something positive, and your body and mind are also getting stronger.

Moreover, following a healthy diet also allows you to develop positive feelings about yourself, and it can help boost your self-esteem.

It can help you be more social:

Exercise

Another positive impact of exercise and following a fitness routine is that it allows you to be more social in low-pressure situations. People with depression usually experience social withdrawal, and it can become challenging for them to be among others because they fear that they will be judged.

However, fitness allows people to be more social. For instance, going to a gym is a great way to get back into the social climate. People in gyms are usually very supportive of others who are trying to live a healthier lifestyle, and interacting with people in the gym can do wonders for the treatment of depression.

Fitness allows you to break the negative feedback loop:

Most people with depression fall into a negative feedback loop, where they feel that things aren't going to go their way because of their negative mindset. Hence, they can't be as productive or involved, and when things do go wrong, reinforcing their negative mindset. This cycle continues and gets more and more grueling to the point where people with depression don't have the emotional power to do anything.

However, exercising or making a healthy meal for yourself is a positive action that allows you to break this negative loop and allow some positivity into your life, which is quite rare for a person with depression.

Exercise is a healthy coping mechanism:

Many people with depression resort to negative coping mechanisms, which can make their condition even worse. For instance, they may start drinking alcohol or abusing drugs, which may help them forget about their problems for a while, but actually contributes to making depression worse since people may feel regretful for drinking too much.

On the other hand, exercise can be more effective in countering the symptoms of depression, and it is a very healthy and positive coping mechanism. Therefore, people with depression should try exercising over other negative coping mechanisms like drinking and smoking.

Exercise helps you feel more productive:

Lastly, people with depression develop low self-esteem because they feel like they aren't being productive. They feel like they don't have any purpose in life, and this emptiness makes their depression worse.

However, when you make a goal of pursuing a healthier lifestyle, start eating healthy and exercising, you feel more purposeful and productive, which can help people climb out of the pit of depression.

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