Increase Your Activity; Increase Your Happiness

It's as simple as walking three times a week.
January 14, 2016

Want to become more optimistic? Try playing tennis. Or walking a dog. Or go dancing.

Supposedly if you run enough miles, you become addicted to running due to endorphins, the brain chemicals that lead to pleasure. I’ve never gotten close to this experience as a runner, but research shows that even exercising just a couple of times a week can transform your attitude.

In one study I discussed in The Happiness Advantage and originally published in Psychosomatic Medicine in 2000, researchers separated 156 adult volunteers with major depressive disorders into three groups: One group took antidepressant medication, one group exercised for 45 minutes three times a week, and one group did both. After four months, all three groups saw equal improvements in their moods. But after six months, remarkable differences emerged. Thirty-eight percent of people in the group who only took medication fell back into depression. Of those in the group who both took medication and exercised, 31 percent relapsed. But among those who exercised only, the relapse rate was a mere 8 percent.

Their decrease in depression resulted from the conscious choice to create a positive habit.

You don’t have to be depressed for exercise to make a positive impact. Whether it’s going for a walk a few times a week after work or training to become an American Ninja Warrior, start exercising. You’ll soon feel happier, more efficient and more productive, which will lead to greater opportunities. Your legs and lungs will be stronger, and so will your optimism.

Successful people have more than education and experience; they have good habits and attitudes. Check out the 5 things that can make all the difference in your career.

 

This article appears in the February 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.  

You might like

Why Exercise Makes Us Happy

Why Exercise Makes Us Happy

Because breaking a sweat isn’t just good for your physical health.

February 20, 2017
3 Techniques to Never Stop Learning

3 Techniques to Never Stop Learning

Adopt a student mindset to grow personally and professionally.

February 17, 2017
8 Daily Habits to Build Your Mental Strength

8 Daily Habits to Build Your Mental Strength

Mentally strong people seek strength and fortitude by building themselves up every day.

February 17, 2017