The Weekend Australian on October 27/28 published a laudable article in its Magazine concerning the depression experienced by Australian cricketer Moises Henrique. I lit on to his reported comment about how much he enjoyed swimming, walking the dog and playing golf as his way of escaping from his dark place. My reaction is summed up in the following response letter which the paper published (unedited) last weekend.
"Forty years as a Recreation Planner have taught me the power of the Enjoyment Factor in managing stress – enjoying creatively expressing any interest that switches your mind off your problems and switches it on to energizing experiences. In Moises Henrique’s case it’s swimming, walking the dog and playing golf. For me it’s choir singing.
The power of the enjoyment factor is the tugboat that gradually turns excessive stress around. Yet few psychologists give enjoyment it’s due credence to energising the mind to better cope with depression."
I fully endorse health professionals' normal suggestion of "exercise". It's just that I see the enjoyment factor as being crucial - be it a physical or mental activity. Without enjoyment, the essential "switch off from your problems" experience is greatly diminished and interest in the activity soon fades.
Exercising the body keeps you physically fit (and helps the mind). Exercising the mind keeps you mentally fit (and helps the body).