Movement Medicine: Enhancing Mental Health

Since 2001, the Mental Health Foundation has spearheaded Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK, rallying communities to prioritise mental well-being. This annual event, held every May, engages millions across the UK, bringing together individuals, families, the community, and organisations. The theme of this year’s campaigns is “Movement: Moving more for our mental health,” which seeks to highlight the profound benefits of physical activity on mental well-being. Despite widespread recognition of these advantages, a significant portion of the population remains inactive.

Statistics reveal that 36% of UK adults fail to meet the World Health Organisation’s recommended levels of physical activity, indicating a pervasive issue. Many people cite reasons such as being too tired, overloaded or overwhelmed to exercise. However, even small increments of extra physical activity can yield substantial physical and mental health benefits. The UK Chief Medical Officer underscores this, stating, “Any activity is better than none, and more is better still.” Yet, barriers persist, hindering many from embracing an active lifestyle fully.

Physical inactivity not only impacts physical health but can also significantly increase mental health challenges. Research indicates that inactive individuals are three times more likely to experience moderate to severe depression compared to their active counterparts. Conversely, regular physical activity can reduce the risk of depression by up to 30%, offering a powerful yet underutilised intervention for mental well-being.

Unfortunately, disparities in physical activity exist, influenced by factors such as income, gender, age, ethnicity, and disability. These inequities, compounded by the pandemic, underscore the importance of addressing barriers to physical activity access and participation.

One significant barrier to physical activity is poor body image and low self-esteem. The Mental Health Foundation’s research revealed that stress related to appearance or body image overwhelms nearly one in three individuals in the UK, leading to people refusing to engage in community sports or other social activities which promote movement.

Hypnotherapy, renowned not only for weight management but also for enhancing self-esteem and confidence is a promising therapy to support individuals to engage more with their community and environment. By harnessing the power of the mind, hypnotherapy facilitates profound shifts in self-perception, fostering resilience and well-being.

The National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH) advocates for hypnotherapy as a transformative tool for managing stress and anxiety. Using tools like guided relaxation and positive suggestion, hypnotherapy empowers individuals to challenge  and collapse negative thought patterns, fostering a sense of calm and inner strength. Moreover, hypnotherapy equips individuals with practical stress management techniques, such as deep breathing and mindfulness, providing practical ongoing support.

By addressing the root causes of stress and anxiety, hypnotherapy offers a holistic approach to mental well-being, promoting lasting resilience and emotional balance. This mental well-being can be further bolstered by engaging in physical activity, fostering connections within communities.

When individuals participate in group activities or outdoor exercises, they not only reap the rewards of physical exertion but also experience a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Whether it’s joining a local sports team, attending group fitness classes, or simply going for a walk in the park, exercise provides opportunities for social interaction and support, which are crucial for mental well-being.

Furthermore, being outdoors and surrounded by nature during exercise encourages individuals to be more mindful and present in the moment. The calming effects of fresh air and natural surroundings can alleviate stress and anxiety, promoting a sense of peace and tranquillity. Whether it’s the gentle rustle of leaves, the warmth of the sun on your skin, or the rhythmic sound of waves crashing against the shore, nature has a profound ability to soothe the mind and restore inner balance. Suggestions from a skilled hypnotherapist can build upon these sensations, creating a powerful link on a person’s mind that promotes even better wellbeing.

Hypnotherapy provides holistic support for individuals striving to enhance their well-being. By supporting individuals to address barriers to physical activity and fostering a positive self-image, hypnotherapy paves the way for transformative change, empowering individuals to lead healthier, more fulfilling lives.

You can find a trained and accredited hypnotherapist near you by searching the National Council for Hypnotherapy’s therapist finder.


Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash

Photo by Jose Vazquez on Unsplash

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