Suicide is a leading cause of death among teenagers and young adults in the United States. While commonly associated with a life event, the early onset of suicidal thoughts and tendencies often results in a battle against ones own thought through the remainder of life.
If you, or someone you know, suffer from recurring thoughts of suicide or even acts of suicide attempt, there are some essential daily practices you may consider in an effort to reduce the underlying psychological factors that often precipitate a suicidal event.
One such daily practice involves engaging in activities or exercise. While this may sound unappealing, to the individual who suffers from suicidal thoughts and suicidal tendencies, the use of activity and exercise may, literally, save life. Unfortunately, even for the most physically fit, the initiation of activity and exercise, in the face of suicidal thoughts or tendencies, is a difficult task to complete.
While you have probably been told the benefits of exercise and their application to the treatment of mental health complications, such as depression, it is also important to understand the physiological aspect of this mental health benefit. Through exercise, or even mild activity, there are physiological changes that involve the release of endorphins, promoting a “feel good” response. This, in many cases, can offset the most immediate effects of suicidal thoughts.
If you are suffering from a suicidal tendency, as part of your suicide prevention plan it may be appropriate to incorporate activity or exercise. First, be sure the activities or exercises you choose are things that you actually like to do. Such activities might include walking a dog, sweeping a floor, swimming, lifting weights or involving in yoga or other meditative activity. Be sure to find a partner that you can call upon as this person will be needed to engage in the activity with you and be a motivation when you make the important call.
Set goals for your activity and then give yourself rewards when you reach those goals. Often, when you create small or mini challenges, and then reward yourself, your mind will become pre-occupied with achieving that goal, obtaining the reward and then the pleasure and release you feel. With this release of positive energy, suicidal thoughts are often negated.
If you absolutely can not find an activity or exercise that you enjoy, then consider volunteer work as another option. For many suicidal individuals the thoughts of hopelessness and helplessness can be overwhelming. Through volunteer work, you will find that your suicidal thoughts are diminished as you make an impact on your community.
As with any mental health complication, when suicidal thoughts and suicidal tendencies occur, it is important to seek out treatment from a mental health professional. When considering the variety of ways in which to treat your mental health complication, consider exercise, activities at home and even volunteer service as a way to release endorphins, create positive energy and distract from thoughts of ending your own life.