Just in case you hadn’t too many things to worry and get worked up about, here’s another: to stop feeling depressed, exercise. Two hundred British general practitioners came to the conclusion that physical exercise is the best way to beat the blues. The news may get your resident psychiatrist reaching for his anti-depressants, but we can already see your local gymwallah breaking into cycles of sweat-free happiness.
Physical exertion, till very recently, was the cause of, at best, human unhappiness and, at worst, human misery. To say that going into the gym will keep us happy is either a terribly optimistic hoax or a way to get all of us to start worrying about flab. The Mental Health Foundation, which conducted this research, insists that not only does exercising help release ‘feel-good’ chemicals in the brain like endorphins, but gymming “can help people physically, socially and biologically”. There goes the whole Cartesian division of body and mind — already chipped away steadily over the centuries thanks to metaphysical poetry and mind-expanding drugs — that helped us to feel good about letting our bodies go to seed.
The post-modern obsession with our own bodies has now found mental affirmation. But we won’t be too surprised at all if the 200 doctors who have endorsed exercise as a way to keep happy have been paid by manufacturers of gym equipment. And do you really have the time to keep aside a chunk of your daily hours to hop on the treadmill? See, we got you worried already.