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Enriching Your Life!

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Archive - Enriching Your Life Newsletter

Exercise Your Blues Away

Friday, September 01, 2000


Most of us know that exercise can help manage depression, but new evidence indicates that regular workouts may help soothe a sad psyche as effectively as antidepressants.

Researchers at Duke University tested people with major depression and found that a moderate exercise program (30 minutes 3 times per week) reduced depression as much as medication. Although, medications produced results more quickly, after 16 weeks, the exercise effect caught up, according to the study. Exercise causes the brain to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can reduce depression.

In addition to giving certain brain chemicals a boost, working out often enhances your body image and may give you a sense of accomplishment, mastery, and pride.

GREAT WAYS TO MEDITATE

1. Scan Your Body
Progressive muscle relaxation allows you to get in touch with parts of your body you might typically neglect. Lie on your back with your eyes closed. Starting with your toes, tense and relax each muscle. Them move your focus to your calves, upper legs, pelvis, and slowly up to the top of your head; feel the sensation of each individual body part along the way.

2. Walk a Labyrinth
Walking meditations can be a great way for fidgety people to meditate. You keep your body moving while you clear your mind. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has no dead ends or decisions to make – you simply follow the loops and circles and focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

3. Draw a Line
A zen board teaches you the art of living in the moment. Each brush stroke appears black against the white board but vanishes after a few minutes.

4. Get Feedback
If you don’t have time to meditate regularly, biofeedback can help you train your mind to relax on cue. A trained practitioner hooks you up to a machine and monitors your brain-wave activity to help you learn what thoughts or actions make your brain reach total relaxation.

Other ways to meditate will appear in successive newsletters.

For more information about Kathy J. Marshack, Ph.D., P.S. and her work as a marriage and family therapist, family/business consultant, author, columnist, seminar leader and internet consultant go to her web site www.kmarshack.com. You’ll find self-help tips, a library of family business articles, information on e-consultation and much more.