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Welcome to May! And welcome to Mental Health Awareness Month!

Welcome to May! And welcome to Mental Health Awareness Month!

This month, we’ve reached out to mental health professionals for some extra tips and insight that anyone can implement in their day-to-day to bring their best mental state to the game...

We’ve always based our brand’s mission on bettering mental health through physical movement. We believe these are strongly linked and we try to bring that awareness to our audience whenever possible! We hope you’ll stick around over the next few weeks as we bring tips and open discussions around the sometimes tough topic of mental health.

So this month, we’ve reached out to mental health professionals for some extra tips and insight that anyone can implement in their day-to-day to bring their best mental state to the game…

To start, we asked Josh Landsburg, therapist and clinical social worker in LA for his top tips in improving overall health:

"I love Mental Health Awareness Month, mostly because I work in the mental health field, but also because May is my birthday month.  Do you think I was born to be a therapist?!  I want to talk a bit today about exercise and movement and the connection between them and mental health.  We all know that exercise has a positive effect on our bodies from a physical perspective, but not everyone knows the positive effect from a mental perspective, or at least if they do know, they don’t “lean” into it as much.  

For whatever reason, myself included, I think a lot of people have an aversion to exercise or even cringe when they hear the word exercise.  That’s why for most of this post I’m going to use the word movement instead.  I know my friends at Yella, whom I have been following since the summer of 2021, like to use the word movement as well.  The reason I like the word movement is because to have a positive mental health benefit, you don’t need to necessarily go exercise or do a crazy workout at the gym, there are many other ways to get positive effects. 

So here are four types of movement that I like to do that I know the science backs up the positive mental side and also I can speak from personal experience of how it has improved my mental health.  So here goes:

  1. Take a mindful walk- I do this one almost on a daily basis.  I leave the phone at home and I take anywhere from a 10-30 minute walk around the block.  Living in LA it helps that the weather is nice most of the time.  Sometimes I close my eyes if I’m on a quiet street and walk a few steps with my eyes closed and breathe.  By putting the technology down and focusing on my breath and my walk, it helps to refresh me and refocus me for the rest of the day.  Even doing this for five minutes at a time can have amazing benefits.  I like to do this in between client sessions or at the start or end of the work day. 
  2. Stretching with breathing- I like to incorporate stretching and breath work at the same time as a way of moving my body and also slowing myself down.  By mindfully connecting to my breath and the stretch this really helps to ease my tension from any anxiety I might be feeling that day.  
  3. Do your favorite sport activity- Whether this is golf, tennis, basketball, baseball, or something else, if you think of this as movement instead of exercise, you’ll have more fun doing it and adding the “fun” to something really improves your mental health.  Finding ways to improve your joy on a daily or even weekly basis can have a tremendous positive impact on your functioning.  
  4. Get in your steps while shopping- I like to go to the Grove or the Century City Mall here in LA or the 3rd Street Prominade in Santa Monica, and even if I don’t need to purchase any new clothes, I just enjoy walking around those areas going window shopping and getting in my steps for the day and just by doing this type of movement, I have noticed a huge change in my mental health.  

On a personal note, as someone who both has had challenges around mental health including dealing with anxiety and depression, as well as someone who has seen things from the other side and worked with many patients with mental health challenges, I know that these things not only “work,” but they can drastically improve your mental health for the positive.  Now, it won’t happen overnight, but if you are able to put in the work and make some of the above tips a part of your daily and weekly routine, you will notice a huge change."

 

Stay tuned next week to hear from a female perspective on how movement can help with mental health.

 

Josh Landsburg is an Associate Clinical Social Worker with his MSW degree from the University of Southern California.  Josh works as a therapist in Los Angeles seeing children, adults, couples, and elder adults with conditions ranging from anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder to chronic pain and other physical conditions.  Josh utilizes many different modalities in his work including but not limited to cognitive behavioral therapy, somatic work, mindfulness, acceptance and commitment therapy, and strengths based work.  Josh believes in a holistic approach to therapy where the client is a joint partner in the treatment process.  Josh is an avid Philadelphia sports fan, and in his free time, Josh likes to play golf, go to the movies, go to the beach, hang out with friends, and spend time with his family.

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