The grieving process has a powerful effect on us both emotionally and physically.
The loss of a loved one stirs up a wide range of emotions which may include anger, despair, depression, denial, numbness, isolation and more.
These emotions may take place over several weeks and even months. They often occur, pull back and reoccur much like the waves of the ocean rise and recede. This emotional roller coaster takes a physical toll on us as well.
One of the best things you can do for yourself during the grieving process is simply to exercise. Exercise does wonders for our mental and physical well-being.
According to Dr. Mercola from Peak Fitness, one reason why exercise makes us feel better is because of its impact on your brain. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, for starters, allowing it to almost immediately function better and feel more focused virtually immediately.
Exercise also triggers a number of neurotransmitters such as endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, glutamate, and GABA which are known for their role in mood control. In fact, it’s an effective treatment for depression.
Brian McFarlin, PhD, assistant professor of exercise physiology and nutrition at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas noted on DailyBurn.com that even though grief is primarily a psychological reaction to loss, our nervous system still responds as if the event was an attack on the body.
So, if you are currently working through the grieving process, make sure you take some time to take care of yourself with a little bit of exercise. Walking, hiking, swimming, yoga, bicycling, dancing, going to the gym—you name it—will make a positive difference in your life.