Exercise and Happiness

Exercise & HappinessBeing happy.  Feeling good in your skin. Having a positive self image.  Exuding joy.  These are all good things that many of us desire and strive after in our lives.  And isn’t it amazing that the way our bodies were made and designed, exercise and endorphin release can aid and help us to feel good, to feel happy! When we are happy and joyful we exude confidence and pass it on to others.  After a completed workout, while you may be tried and wiped out, there is also a strong sense of accomplishment and honestly, we feel happy! There is a scientific reason as to why exercise and feeling happy are correlated.

-Exercise released dopamine into the brain.  Dopamine is a chemical in the brain (a neurotransmitter) that gives us happy feelings. Exercise increased your dopamine production.

-Exercise and endorphins are correlated.  We’ve all experienced  an “endorphin rush."  many things help us experience this and notably, exercise is on that list! The high of an endorphin release is pretty great and can be attributed to feelings of happiness, excitement and satisfaction!

And a few other amazing side effects of exercise that will also create more happiness in your life come by way of: 1. Less depression and/or anxiety: many of us struggle with seasonal or consistent depression and anxiety. The Mayo Clinic says that “Regular exercise probably helps ease depression in a number of ways, which may include:

  • Releasing feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids)
  • Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
  • Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects”

2. It gives you more energy and more energy benefits us in countless ways! When we are productive we feel good about ourselves, feeling good about ourselves equals happiness! Staying consistent with a daily or weekly dose of workouts takes us from less energy to more and gives us the upswing in our day that we need to power through! Exercise actually increases energy levels and fights fatigue. And we have all experienced that the more energy we have to do things we like and enjoy helps us find joy and satisfaction in life!

3. Creates more confidence! Who doesn’t like having a healthy dose of self confidence? Exercise gives us that strong and determined feeling, no matter where we are in our health and fitness journey the more we show up and work the more our body and mind changes. Not only physically- mentally we begin to see what we are capable of, we push ourselves and we gain overall confidence in our daily lives. There is nothing quite like a strong feeling of accomplishment.  Working out is a great way to experience the happiness that comes with accomplishment and the confidence that follows.

Lastly, to understand this whole topic in more depth, I want to invite you to check out this amazing article which dives deeper into this topic— written by Leo Widrich, this article “What Happens to Our Brains When We Exercise And How It Makes Us Happier” is a comprehensive read on how our brains are wired and how exercise benefits our endorphin release and beyond!

https://www.fastcompany.com/3025957/what-happens-to-our-brains-when-we-exercise-and-how-it-makes-us-happier

So the next time you wonder if making your workout or daily/weekly exercise a priority— I invite you to refer back to this blog post or the takeaways you have from reading it and remember the immediate gains that you’ll experience.  Those feelings you’ll experience from dopamine, endorphins and beyond will help be the fuel to get stuff done, accomplish more, feel good in your skin and keep you coming back to the gym for more.  The benefits of working out truly are countless— keep going, friend!

Cheers to all the feels! Jenny