Dr. Christina Hibbert is a clinical psychologist, former fitness instructor, dynamic speaker, and author of 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise.
Dr. Hibbert explains that 1 in 4 American adults experience mental illness in any given year. Mental illness will affect most of us at some point in our lives and it becomes more likely as we age. This is largely because there are three components to mental health, including life experiences, brain chemistry, and physiological states including hormones. Any trauma, heartache, or loss can impact and change our brain. Over time, these brain changes are coupled with other chemistry or hormonal changes, which can then build up and cause mental distress or a disorder of some sort.
To make a change, there must first be an emotional and mental preparation. This will allow you to have commitment at a deeper level. This can involve what Dr. Hibbert describes as a pyramid of self-worth, where one works through the stages of self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-love. Once this has been done, one can take action and incorporate exercise into their routine.
Exercise is so helpful with mental health for a few reasons. Endorphins are chemicals that are released as a result of exercise, which makes the body feel good. Studies have also shown that exercise can increase neurotransmitters in the brain which can lessen the likelihood of anxiety or depression. Exercise also has anti-inflammatory benefits.
The key is to realizing that lasting change does not occur with the simple flip of a switch. It is more like a staircase that you constantly ascend and descend. You have to be willing to take all steps necessary to make change that lasts. You won’t fail unless you completely quit. To connect with Dr. Christina Hibbert or to learn more about mental health through exercise, visit