Blog: Articles on Psychological Wellbeing, Relationships, Brain Health, Counselling and Neurofeedback
Welcome to the blog of Sojourn Counselling and Neurofeedback. Articles posted here are written by our clinical staff and relate to services we offer or conditions we address. We hope they will be helpful to you in some way, whether you're considering counselling for yourself or someone else, gathering information on a mental health related issue, or just want to find out more about who we are and what we do.
Discover the Surprising Parallels Between Counselling and Exercise for Improved Well-Being
Counselling and exercise are two activities that can have numerous positive effects on a person's mental and physical health. While they are very different activities, they share many similarities in terms of their mental health benefits.
Aside from the physical benefits of exercise, there is also a pronounced impact on mental health from 30 minutes or more of physical exercise each day. There is a wide range of scientific evidence demonstrating that physical exercise can be helpful in reducing depression, anxiety, tension and stress within the mind and body, while improving cognitive function, boosting self-esteem, and providing the exerciser with a sense of accomplishment and positive mood (Mikkelsen et al., 2017); (Hofmann et al., 2012).
The parallels between counselling and exercise are striking. Just as exercise can improve physical health and wellbeing, counselling can have a profound effect on these measures also. Both activities require effort, consistency, and patience to see results. And both can have long-lasting effects on a person's overall quality of life.
One of the most important parallels between counselling and exercise is the need for consistency. Just as it takes time to see physical results from exercise, it takes time to see mental health results from counselling. According to a study published in the Journal of Counselling Psychology, "counselling sessions that are spaced too far apart can result in a slower rate of change and less overall improvement" (McKibben et al., 2011). Similarly, consistent exercise is necessary for physical improvements.
Another parallel between counselling and exercise is the need for effort. Both activities require an individual to put in effort in order to see results. In exercise, this means pushing oneself to lift heavier weights or run longer distances. In counselling, it means being willing to engage in self-reflection and explore difficult emotions. According to a study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, "client effort is an important predictor of treatment outcomes in psychotherapy" (Kazantzis et al., 2016).
Patience is also necessary in both counselling and exercise. Results don't happen overnight, and it can be easy to become discouraged if progress isn't seen immediately. In exercise, progress can be slow and steady, with improvements in strength and endurance occurring over time. In counselling, progress can be slow as well, with insights and changes occurring gradually.
Overall, the parallels between counselling and exercise are clear. Both require consistency, effort, and patience to see results. Counselling can provide a safe space to process emotions, identify and change negative thought patterns, and improve emotional regulation. Exercise, on the other hand, can improve physical health and fitness, boost mood, and reduce stress.
It's important to note that these two forms of self-care are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they can work together synergistically to provide a comprehensive approach to improving overall wellbeing. By engaging in both counselling and exercise, individuals can address both their emotional and physical needs, leading to a more balanced and fulfilling life.
Hofmann, S. G., Asnaani, A., Vonk, I. J. J., Sawyer, A. T., & Fang, A. (2012). The efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy: A review of meta-analyses. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 36(5), 427-440.
Kazantzis, N., Whittington, C., & Dattilio, F. (2016). Meta-analysis of homework effects in cognitive and behavioral therapy: A replication and extension. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 23(4), 397-415.
McKibben, E. S., Egan, S. J., Kane, R. T., & Rees, C. S. (2011). The importance of therapist‐client interaction in the prediction of outcome in cognitive behaviour therapy for generalized anxiety disorder. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 58(3), 293-301.
Mikkelsen, K., Stojanovska, L., Polenakovic, M., Bosevski, M., & Apostolopoulos, V. (2017). Exercise and mental health. Maturitas, 106, 48-56.