He had been feeling low for days. The constant rain didn't help. It wasn't that he didn't like the rain, in fact he enjoyed rainstorms, almost craved them. No, it was the fact that he didn't like driving in the rain, and didn't get out much in the last few days. With not much activity around - nothing much to do - he just puttered around the house. Most of the time he felt tired and used, like an old worn out shoe.
Oh well, he thought, rain or no rain he had to go to the store. The most important thing to pick up was eye drops. His eyes were so tired and irritated lately. He even felt as if his IQ was down a couple of notches - felt almost afraid to drive - lack of concentration and all that. Hoping the trip to the store would snap him out of the slump, he went.
Ah, the eye drops helped some, but he remained lethargic. "Why don't they make eye drops laced with speed," he thought to himself. The slump continued into the early afternoon. Basically, the problem seemed to be a lack of activity - which, in turn made him feel low, tired - too tired to do anything. In a depressing circle, of sorts.
The opportunity came up later that afternoon to take a swim in the indoor pool at the local rec center. His sister-in-law called to invite him. He didn't want to go, but she needed help with the kids, so he reluctantly joined them.
The swim snapped him out of the slump - it seems easier to breath, he thought. He felt like he could deal with the next day with more enthusiasm. He definitely felt better.
Max's note: Going into a slump does cause a vicious circle. You feel too tired or lethargic to DO anything, you FEEL like you just want to sleep. You don't want to participate in physical activity, which continues the cycle. You don't feel 100%, that's for sure. When you exercise - basically, get your body going, you clear and revitalize your mind. Matter over mind, you might say.
Exercise is linked with improved mental vigor, including reaction time, acuity, and math skills. Exercising may even enhance creativity and imagination. According to one study, older people who are physically fit respond to mental challenges just as quickly as unfit young adults. (Stretching and weight training appear to have no such effects.) Both aerobic and nonaerobic workouts have been shown to reduce depression. According to one study, exercise was as effective for improving mood in people with clinical depression as some common forms of psychotherapy. Either brief periods of intense training or prolonged aerobic workouts can raise levels of important chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine, that produce feelings of pleasure, causing the so-called runner's high. One study found that teenagers who were active in sports have a much better sense of well being than their sedentary peers; the more vigorously they exercised, the better was their emotional health. In one study, regular brisk walking cut in half the incidence of sleep disturbances in people who suffer from them. It should be noted that exercise in the evening, however, can cause sleep disturbances. Rhythmic aerobic and yoga exercises may be particularly helpful for combating stress, anxiety, and sleeplessness.