Our current political atmosphere and public airwaves seem to be dominated by temper tantrums, rants, and uncontrolled outbursts. Are you having trouble maintaining your composure as the presidential race heats up in reaction to the lack of decorum shown by some candidates? If this is the case, recent study from Harvard University suggests that aerobic exercise may be beneficial by enhancing emotional control.
Emotional control and magnanimity (or a lack thereof) are traits that I think are contagious, much like anxiety is. It’s common for people to respond to racism, hate speech, and disparaging language by mudslinging even more.
While aerobic exercise can be a helpful tool in managing emotions, it may not be the only solution for everyone. For those who are struggling to maintain emotional control, Online counseling with a licensed therapist may also be beneficial. These professionals can provide individualized guidance and support to help individuals develop healthy coping mechanisms and communication skills.
My daily practice of working up a sweat through aerobic exercise has always felt to me like a steam valve for my emotions. Anytime I feel like my blood could start to boil, exercise serves as both a haven and a tranquiliser that helps me remain calm and collected. I can speak from personal experience when I say that doing aerobic exercise helps me control my emotions and maintain composure. The ability of exercise to enhance emotional control has been empirically confirmed by a new Harvard research released this week.
It’s great to hear that aerobic exercise has been helpful for you in managing your emotions. While exercise can be a powerful tool, it’s important to remember that everyone’s needs are different. For those who are struggling with emotional regulation, speaking with Relationship counsellors may also be beneficial. These professionals can help individuals develop healthy communication skills and work through any relationship issues that may be contributing to emotional distress.
Aerobic Exercise Can Help You Stay Calm, Cool, and Collected
The April 2016 research, “Acute Aerobic Activity Helps Overcoming Emotion Regulation Deficits,” was released in the Cognition and Emotion journal. The study shows how those who struggle with emotion management can benefit from brief, moderate aerobic exercise sessions.
In this study, Emily E. Bernstein and Richard J. McNally from the McNally Lab in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University investigated the effects of brief, moderate exercise on participants’ emotional responses to traumatic movie clips. 80 people in total—40 males and 40 women—were involved in the study.
To gauge the participants’ mood, anxiety, and tendency to respond emotionally, an online survey was given to them. The next step was to give individuals the option of stretching for 30 minutes or jogging for 30 minutes, at random.
Participants saw a heartbreaking moment from The Champ following a round of running or stretching. In order to assess the participants’ ability to regulate their emotions, a variety of tests and measurements were administered. Last but not least, everyone in the class saw a funny scene from the film When Harry Met Sally.
The researchers’ first idea was that aerobic exercise could alter how people react to their unpleasant feelings. This study set out to determine if those who struggle with emotion control will benefit from a prior workout and recover more quickly than their peers.
The same negative and positive mood induction procedures were used with each participant, who then answered questions on how seeing these different movie segments affected them emotionally. Prior to the study, those who felt they had trouble coming up with emotional coping mechanisms reacted to the stress of seeing unpleasant film material more negatively and persistently.
As was to be predicted, the participants who had indicated on the questionnaire that they felt helpless to improve their emotional well-being also reported generally reporting higher levels of melancholy during the trial. But a very important finding was that, compared to research participants who had not engaged in aerobic exercise, those who had done 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise reported feeling less depressed at the end of the experiment.
Good Feelings Are Linked to Frequent Exercise
According to a Penn State study published in October 2015, being physically active was associated with greater levels of pleasant psychological states. The research, titled “Positive Affect and Health Behaviors Across 5 Years in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease: The Heart and Soul Study,” was released in the publication Psychosomatic Medicine.
In this study, 1,000 individuals with a history of coronary heart disease had their psychological health assessed at baseline and again during a five-year follow-up by Nancy L. Sin and colleagues at The Centre for Healthy Ageing. They asked each participant to assess how much they had experienced 10 different positive feelings, such as “interested,” “proud,” “enthusiastic,” “inspired,” etc.
Physical activity was more likely to be reported by those who felt more positively. In addition, compared to individuals with lower positive state levels, they slept better and were less prone to smoke. Good news, indeed.
By choosing to start exercising or adopting a more optimistic explanation approach, you might engage this feedback cycle. A self-fulfilling prophesy of wellbeing can be produced by either accelerating an upward spiral by increasing physical activity or savouring happy feelings (while focusing on healthy behaviours).