Movement for Mental Health: A Mind-Body Connection

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Mental illness can be paralyzing. You don’t feel like moving, much less move forward. Get helpful ideas on movement for mental health on HealthyPlace.

Movement for Mental Health: A Mind-Body Connection

Many of the myriad mental health struggles people face are paralyzing. Depression, PTSD, anxiety, stress, and more can stop us in our tracks. It’s hard to move at all, let alone think about moving forward.

While often difficult initially, the best cure for the inability to move is movement. Movement and exercise are powerful. They simultaneously stimulate and soothe, improve the functioning of the central nervous system (including the brain), heart, and lungs, among other things. Movement has many short- and long-term mental health benefits:

  • Encourages and improves deep breathing
  • Quiets the mind and body’s automatic stress response
  • Cools the fight-or-flight response
  • Induces relaxation
  • Provides natural energy
  • Increases self-confidence and self-worth
  • Improves nervous system functioning
  • Regulates mood
  • Improves sleep

What is the best form of movement or exercise for mental health? The answer depends on you. Movement isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to mental health. Just a handful of examples includes:

  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Walking
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Gardening
  • Biking
  • Longboarding/skateboarding

The key is to choose activities that get you moving and that you enjoy doing. Sometimes, we don’t enjoy anything, and that’s okay. Choose something you can tolerate. Dedicate a short amount of time to it every day and lengthen the time as you feel better. Any kind of movement, done consistently, helps mental health.

Related Articles Dealing with Exercise, Movement, and Mental Health

Your Thoughts

Today's Question: How do you make yourself exercise or get up and move when mental illness makes it seem impossible? We invite you to participate by sharing your thoughts, experiences, and knowledge on the HealthyPlace Facebook page and on the HealthyPlace Google+ page.

From the HealthyPlace Mental Health Blogs

On all our blogs, your comments and observations are welcomed.

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of any blog post. And visit the mental health blogs homepage for the latest posts.


From HealthyPlace YouTube Channel

I'm Hannah. I Have Bipolar 2

Bipolar Stigma: 3 Ways it Affects Our Lives

Living with bipolar disorder is a challenge on its own, however, part of the pain of living with it is dealing with bipolar stigma. When you live with a stigmatized condition, it affects your life in so many ways. (Watch Hannah)


Most Popular HealthyPlace Articles Shared by Facebook Fans

Here are the top 3 mental health articles HealthyPlace Facebook fans are recommending you read:

  1. Coping with Psychotic Symptoms: Hallucinations
  2. A Mindfulness Trick for When You're Really Depressed
  3. Mental Health Stigma Causes Shame and Guilt We Don't Deserve

If you're not already, I hope you'll join us/like us on Facebook too. There are a lot of wonderful, supportive people there.


Mental Health Quote

"She didn't know who would leave or stay, so she pushed them all away."

Read more borderline quotes.


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APA Reference
Peterson, T. (2018, May 28). Movement for Mental Health: A Mind-Body Connection, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 19 from

Last Updated: May 29, 2018

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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