Enjoy this sample scholarship essay by Kathryn Melanson from Briercrest College in Saskatchewan on “Exercising Your Mental Health”. The Aspire-Canada Scholarship is now taking applications for 2016!

Exercising Your Mental Health – Written by Kathryn Melanson

As Wilhelm von Humboldt, a famous 19th century philosopher, once said, “True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united.” Many people do not realize the importance that exercise and good health has on your mental condition. When you look at the word “health,” what do you think of? Many people believe it to be the strength in their physical body. Others believe it is the condition of their genetic makeup. However, it is necessary to take in account the condition of the mind. Then the question becomes, “How does one keep a healthy mind?” What’s the answer? Mental exercises as well as physical workouts and the right food consumption.

Mental exercise is crucial in keeping your mind sharp. Examples of “mental workouts” include crosswords, playing chess, memorizing words, calculating sums, etc. Many people know of the elderly carrying out these practices by doing puzzles; however, it is important that people of all age groups do these mental exercises. These activities stimulates the brain and gets it exercising which we don’t necessarily do in our daily lives. By doing these drills to fuel ones brain, one can ward off and delay mental disorders from occurring such as Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. These diseases are becoming increasingly popular with old age. Many people believe that mental exercise can increase mental health; however, physical exercise also plays a key role.

Fitness is crucial in creating a healthy body and, more importantly, a healthy mental state. Think of it this way, fine tuning a vehicle engine is like physical fitness to a person’s brain. Physical exercise is easily described as comprised of four basic elements, which are endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance and flexibility. Health advisors suggest that people use these four fundamentals and take in at least 30 minutes of these practices daily. This means keeping your heart pumping at a steady pace for this length of time. If one continues to keep this habit up, there is a high possibility that it will increase the benefits of long-term health as well as a long lasting life. Fitness can create mental alertness and emotional stability. This is due to the fact that physical exercise helps the brain to produce a hormone called endorphins, which is known for improving your mood and decreasing your stress levels. Because doctors know about this hormone, they usually suggest patients that are diagnosed with any form of anxiety and depression the take part in daily exercise while they take medications. Although physical exercise is important in creating a healthy and fit body as well as an active brain, food consumption is also a feature that needs to be looked at.
Diet is also a factor that some people often forget about in regards to creating a healthy mind. A proper diet incorporates eating the four proper food groups. These components include fruit and vegetables, meat, grains, and milk. By consuming these foods that produce energy, we are helping our bodies be healthy enough to create the right hormones, nutrients, and antioxidants to help our minds. Appropriate nourishment also incorporates little alcohol, salt, sugar, and fat. Alcohol works as a depressant. When first consumed, it improves ones mood, but that is only short term. After the alcohol leaves the body, it increases the symptoms of depression and anxiety. When looking at eating sugar specifically, it is known to create a “sugar high” and of course, what comes up must go down. After being on this high, one will likely become melancholy and basically depressed. With this said, a malnourished brain that isn’t strong enough to create nutrients with these substances can cause one to feel tired, unhappy, and angry. If you lack nutrients such as vitamin B12, calcium, iron, and more it is very likely that these feelings will start occurring daily. It is important to remember that what we are physically eating, our brain is also consuming in our everyday lives.

When ones mind isn’t healthy, their physical body begins to deteriorate, their coherent mind begins to weaken, and their food consumption changes frequently. It is important to acknowledge that mental health can be changed with just a few tweaks. Exercising your mental state properly can cause a vast amount changes and ward off any unwanted mental illnesses that have become so popular in our day and age. While you make mental practices a habit, also create a routine by doing a short 30-minute exercise daily. This will construct a great physical body while strengthening your psychological state. And last but not least, remember to take in your proper food groups and be conscious about what you put in your body. Over all, when you are stressed, have anxiety, and are feeling down, know that strong mental health can conquer all.

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