Blizzard Bag #2

Welcome to your Snow Day! I hope you have some fun as well as completing the follow

Read the following article and answer the questions following.

Psychology and Mental Health

Exercise and mental health

Type of psychology: Biological bases of behavior; developmental psychology; psychopathology; psychotherapy; stress
Fields of study: Aging; anxiety disorders; behavioral and cognitive models; behavioral therapies; biology of stress; critical issues in stress; depression; sleep; stress and illness
Exercise is a behavior that affects both physical and mental well-being. It is well known as a practice for maintaining physical health. Though it is less well known for its impact on mental health, exercise can significantly improve mood, alertness, and feelings of well-being while decreasing fatigue, tension, stress, and depressed mood.


Physical exercise affects mental health by releasing endorphins, or hormonesthat put the body in a pleasurable state. As such, exercise may be naturally reinforcing because endorphins may serve as a positive reinforcer.
Bicycling, whether at the casual or professional level, can significantly improve mood, alertness, and feelings of well-being while decreasing fatigue, tension, stress, and depressed mood.

Often doctors and specialists recommend an exercise regimen as part of a treatment program for conditions related to anxiety, depression, and stress reduction. Additionally, regular exercise can also affect conditions exacerbated by stress by helping to reduce stress. Headaches, pain disorders, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and conditions such as diabetes may benefit from stress reduction in this regard. Stress reduction also may result from social bonding associated with exercise, including pairs or team sports or even simply walking or running with a friend. Additionally, direct effects on body fat, blood pressure, weight, and flexibility, among other physical aspects of health, also combine to make exercise beneficial for these conditions.

Mental health and exercise also are primary topics of sports psychology, an area of psychology that focuses on how mental state can affect athletic performance. Practitioners of sports psychology use numerous techniques to facilitate improved performance and persistence. Using visual imagery to see oneself performing successfully is one example of sports psychology. Another technique involves using positive self-statements to facilitate expectations of successful performance. Many times athletes and others participating in sports or other exercise activities may experience reductions in performance that may be accompanied by thoughts or beliefs that can cause or exacerbate poor performance. Therefore, approaches encouraging positive self-statements, ways of reshaping beliefs to support performance improvement, can be extraordinarily beneficial.


Though exercise has many physical and mental health benefits, it can also be associated with varying mental health problems. Some individuals may have extreme concerns about weight, as found in the condition of anorexia nervosa, and may engage in excessive exercise. If a person is driven by fears of fatness, exercise may function as a compulsion, a behavior performed to reduce the fear and anxiety. Unfortunately, the reduction of these uncomfortable feelings about fatness can be negatively reinforcing, meaning that the reduction in anxiety serves as a benefit to encourage more and more exercise. Unlike positive reinforcement, or stimuli that increase behaviors, negative reinforcementworks by removal of stimuli, in this case, reducing the fear and reinforcing the exercise. These compulsive patterns may develop into rituals. When the ritual is pathological, its interruption can further trigger anxiety, which then may help to further build the compulsion to follow through with the exercise rituals.

Similarly, individuals with bulimia nervosa may engage in exercise as a compensatory behavior for other problematic behaviors such as binge eating. Binge eating can trigger fears of a lack of control and fatness; the exercise behavior may be used to compensate for the overeating. Exercise is seen as a means of regaining control.

Individuals with body dysmorphic disorder, a condition in which a person has very serious concerns about how some aspect of a body part looks, may also engage in excessive exercise. Desire to affect the body, such as to gain control over its appearance, may also be related to compulsive exercise.

Remarkably, even when a person is warned of the deleterious effects of excessive exercise that may result from body-fat levels that are too low and a dysregulated hormone system, the person will still feel driven to exercise. These are conditions in which the benefits of exercise do not objectively outweigh the risks; however, the person is unable to see this. In reality, individuals must recognize the value of moderation even in exercise. Healthy exercise that supports mental health is beneficial behavior that outweighs the negative effects of exercise.


Bourne, Edmund J., and Lorna Garano. Coping with Anxiety: Ten Simple Ways to Relieve Anxiety, Fear, and Worry. Oakland, Calif.: New Harbinger, 2003. This book reviews causes of anxiety, things that exacerbate it, and methods to manage it.
Cox, Richard. Sports Psychology: Concepts and Applications. Columbus, Ohio: McGraw-Hill, 2006. Presents basic concepts from the field of sports psychology; written to orient new practitioners and students in the area.
Friedman, Peachy. Diary of an Exercise Addict. Guilford, Conn.: Pequot Press, 2008. Provides a personal story of how exercise can become an obsession and as destructive as an addiction.
Gregg, Jennifer A., Glenn M. Callaghan, and Steven C. Hayes. Diabetes Lifestyle Book: Facing Your Fears and Making Changes for a Long and Healthy Life. Oakland, Calif.: New Harbinger Press, 2008. This self-help book provides readers with facts and other useful information about diabetes, its impact, and ways to manage it realistically.
Powers, Pauline S., and Ron Thompson. The Exercise Balance: What’s Too Much, What’s Too Little, What’s Just Right for You! Carlsbad, Calif.: Gurze Books, 2008. Provides information to help readers productively reflect on their exercise patterns to establish a regimen that is adaptive to their individual needs.


1.  What type of hormone is released when exercising? ____________________________________________

2.  What 3 common psychological conditions does exercise help treat?

              1. ____________________________________

              2. ____________________________________


3. What are some physical conditions that exercise helps?

             1. ____________________________________

              2. ____________________________________



4. Explain the mechanics of sports psychology. What is the theory behind performance?

5. Define Positive Feedback:

6. Define Negative Feedback:

7. What are three types of disorders that exercise have a negative impact on?

8. List some benefits that you think you would personally benefit from if you exercise.

9. If you exercise write down a typical week of exercise that you would complete. Be sure to include time and activity. If you don't currently exercise come up with a tentative plan in which you could incorporate exercise into your weekly routing. Be sure to include exercises and time you would need to complete them.


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