Contributor #3: Embrace the Mind-Body Connection
What we do - or don’t do with our bodies influences on our minds and therefore impacts our overall experience of wellness. Research has demonstrated the positive impact that exercise has on mood time and time again. For example, a well-known Duke study of 156 patients diagnosed with major depression found that after 16 weeks, patients who exercised (30 minutes of brisk exercise three times a week) showed statistically significant and comparable improvement relative to those patients who only took anti-depression medication or those who took the medication and exercised. As you can see from the Duke study, an extreme amount of exercise is not required in order to reap the benefits, and incorporating just a little bit of extra movement in your day is likely to have an impact. Before you hop in your car or on that bus next time, ask yourself – is it possible to walk instead?
If you spend your entire day sitting in a classroom or an office, perhaps going for a quick stroll during your lunch hour might be an invigorating option? Tal Ben-Shahar emphasizes the fact that as human beings, we were not made to be sedentary creatures, yet for many of us, inactivity dominates our lifestyle. He warns, “Not exercising is like taking a depressant,” – Therefore, an important component of increasing your psychological well-being is to acknowledge the crucial role that exercise can play.
To learn more about exercise for mood, see the following page. As a McGill student, you can also benefit from working out at our Sports Complex, which offers a wide range of exercise facilities such as a pool, a fitness centre, an aerobics room, and much more. To find even more ways to get active, click here to see a list of more on-campus physical activity resources right at your fingertips.