Nurturing Physical And Mental Health Are Key To Abuse Recovery
Experiencing child abuse has specific effects on human health and wellbeing. Research shows, for instance, that in organizations such as the armed forces, a far higher percentage of mental health disorders (28.7%) can be attributed to past child abuse experiences (compared to 8.7% caused by military service experiences). Regardless of the age of a survivor of child abuse, there are physical and mental health issues that are more likely to surface than among those who have not experienced abuse. These include a higher risk of mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, as well as physical problems such as Type 2 diabetes, IBS, back pain, frequent headaches, digestive problems, and overall poorer health. If you have been through abuse, then working on your physical health will help to improve your mental health and vice-versa.
Exercise Can Make You Happier
Researchers at Southern Methodist University recommend that all mental health providers prescribe exercise for depression and anxiety. Their studies showed that exercise lowered levels of stress and anger, improved the mood, and affected neurotransmitters in the brain (similar to the way antidepressants do). To boost the effects of exercise, try outdoor workouts like yoga, running, cycling, team sports, or indeed any activity that can be undertaken in nature. Studies have shown that simply being outside improves mental health by inducing a state of calm, helping human beings to feel more vital and positive, and by lowering stress hormone levels in a dramatic way. If you are feeling very stressed, then holistic workouts such as yoga and Tai Chi the Great Outdoors can help put you in a mindful, accepting state. These activities are mindfulness-based: that is, they help bring the mind to the present moment, away from regrets about the past or worry about the future.
Good Mental Health Can Be A Motivator For Exercise
People who are depressed and anxious can find it less motivating, or even harrowing, to think of heading outside to work on their physical fitness. However, in the same way that exercise can make you happier, so too can being happy help you feel more motivated to choose healthy behaviors such as exercise. In addition to tackling mental health proactively, you can also work out ways to improve motivation or ensure that your intentions to stay fit do not fall by the wayside. Penn State researchers recommend changing your routine so that exercise automatically fits in with your schedule. For instance, you might choose to cycle or walk to work instead of taking your car, or take the steps in lieu of the elevator. Group exercise has also been found to be more motivating than solo workouts, and, as mentioned above, outdoor exercise is ideal because it can be more enjoyable (and it helps you burn more calories) than outdoor exercise.
If you have experienced childhood abuse, then working on both your physical and mental health can help you on the road to recovery. Exercise can help you battle stress, anxiety and depression. Working on your happiness, meanwhile, can help keep you on the track when it comes to consistency and discipline for workouts.