We can hear this phrase more and more in the environment. A multitude of things, the rush of life, the need to meet imposed standards, permanent stress, uncertainty of the future. All this stimulates the body as a silent stressor of everyday life.
Life is becoming more and more hectic, but this does not mean that we have to give in to this whirlwind. In order to temporarily relieve ourselves, it happens that, in a moment of exhaustion and helplessness, we presume that DEPRESSION has attacked us.
But what is it? Let’s take a moment to look at what this disease is and what symptoms are indicative of it.
DEPRESSION – WHAT IS IT?
It is a syndrome of mental disorders affecting mood, it can manifest itself in several ways, through lowering of mood, slowing down of action and thought processes, accompanying medication, it can also reach somatic symptoms. The severity of these symptoms lasts for at least two weeks and disorganises daily life.
The accompanying sadness dominates everyday life and fundamentally changes the affected person. According to Professor Antoni Kępiński – an eminent doctor of psychiatry – depression is “hell in a lifetime”.
The causes of depression have not been unanimously established, however, factors that may contribute to it can be identified, such as changes in brain structure, viral infections, genetic, psychological and social factors, and unprocessed traumas.
Movement is life, stagnation is a slow death.
It should be emphasised that it is difficult for the person concerned to take care of his or her own needs when severe affective disorders persist and psychomotor performance is impaired. A person in this condition has neither the opportunity nor the desire to participate actively in the daily activities. But in the course of the disease and on the way to its prevention, physical activity proves to be an irreplaceable natural weapon in the fight against the disease.
WHY DOES THE MOVEMENT HELP?
Well, physical activity leads to an increase in neurotransmitters, i.e. substances that facilitate the transmission of impulses between nerve cells. The secretion of endorphins and serotonin increases. The former lead to feelings of bliss and reduce the perception of pain. Endorphins stimulate a positive feeling. Serotonin, on the other hand, contributes to feelings of contentment. Hence, after a good workout, we feel tired but also satisfied. Sometimes, we are even accompanied by a feeling of elation, among runners called ‘runner’s euphoria’. Another positive aspect in undertaking physical activity is the feeling of empowerment and control over one’s body as well as one’s life; self-confidence and satisfaction increase.
The power generated during training translates into everyday life, the person training is more willing to take action in other spaces. The flexibility of the brain is increased, as is the openness to new undertakings.
Research shows that aerobic and stretching exercises are the most beneficial for people suffering from depression. So it’s not about the intensity of the exercise, but about the activity itself. Preferably in the open air or in the cosy conditions we create for ourselves at home, when it is so hard to endure further external distractions.
Consideration should also be given to the aspect of the effect of medication that is taken to treat depression on slowed metabolism and often weight gain. This is another aspect where physical activity proves to be very helpful.
An important strand in undertaking physical activity is motivation, great when the intrinsic motivation is sufficient to undertake it, but a person suffering from depression needs subtle extrinsic motivation, with my clients I excel in this role.
I know from experience that people struggling with depression need a gentle introduction to movement that resonates with their feelings, breathing training, meditation, grounding – for a better sense of grounding and security, for grounding themselves – often works well here.
Also mobilisation and stretching sessions release excessively tense tissues, frozen in movement. Body rolls, on the other hand, give a sense of synchronisation and connection with one’s tissues. The most important thing is that the pace of the training sessions is appropriately chosen, so that they do not feel like an additional stressor, but a space conducive to fully relaxing one’s head, coming back to oneself and reconnecting with one’s body, on regaining vitality.
“Exercise can replace all medications, but no cure can replace exercise. ”