When someone gets a graze or a bruise, people tend to notice. The classic line of “what happened there” usually tends to come out of people’s mouths and most of the time you have the dull reply of “oh yeah I just whacked it on the doorframe”. But what happens when you can’t see these grazes or bruises. What happens when people can’t take notice, do you have to cope with it yourself?

Speaking up about mental health is becoming more and more acceptable, people share details about their experiences, talking and making others aware that mental health affects everyone every day. Ways to improve your mental state can range from talking to people about your experiences,  finding a new hobby to distract yourself, to gaining confidence by learning something new. Another way to improve your mental wellbeing is through exercise.

My Experience with Exercise and Mental Health

Exercise has been shown to have comparable gains as standard forms of psychotherapy, which can increase your mood and your self-esteem. Faced with university many students experience stress and anxiety.

I myself am particularly partial to academic-related stress. I experience stress mostly around my exams. With this, however, I have noticed that exercise helps improve my mental wellbeing, so I do various amounts of exercise each week to help combat stress. My personal goal is to get to a point where I am able to run a marathon. At the moment, I am still in the early stages of training, resembling a couch potato more so than Paula Radcliff… but with this goal in mind, when I run, I have something to strive for. Slowly increasing the distance and decreasing my time.

I get a huge sense of accomplishment. Being able to run a new best time or run a new distance gives me a good adrenaline rush as well as a general great feeling about myself. It’s not necessarily the running that gives me a sense of relief, the routes that I take can sometimes relax me. During my first year at the University, I didn’t always want to run so I found walks around the campus itself which wouldn’t take too long so I could get back to my studies but were long enough to separate me from the stress related to my studies.

The other sport that helps me is football. I play for my subject, Physics, in the interdepartmental football competition or IDFC league which is part of the Bath Active programme. With football, people are always there, you can talk and make friends, having a good time as well as playing a sport which, I myself, enjoy a lot. Team sports are ideal for relieving stress, giving you a welcoming community to be a part of.

Posted in: Faculty of Science, Looking after your mental health at university, Undergraduate

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