Physical activity has a variety of indirect effects on mental health, such as strengthening emotional resilience, improving the ability to deal with negative emotions, and increasing emotional intelligence. The impact of physical activity on these factors requires an individual to put forth the effort and attention to achieve the desired effects. This research study focuses on the effect of exercise on positive emotions and emotional self-efficacy. Various studies have examined the relationship between physical activity and mental health, but few have focused on the link between physical activity and negative emotions. Using a model that is based on the extended broaden and build theory of positive emotions, the researchers explored the indirect impact of physical activity on these three aspects of mental health.
The impact of physical activity on these components of mental health is important because a number of studies have shown that it can increase the quality of life. For instance, physical activity has been associated with better sleep, greater resilience, and increased emotional intelligence. Additionally, physical activity has been linked to reduction in CVD risk. Interestingly, physical inactivity has been linked to obesity, which is known to lead to CVD. In addition, physical inactivity is also directly associated with short sleep duration, which is known to be a risk factor for CVD.
The research found that a person’s physical activity has a direct impact on the risk for CVD, but it is important to recognize the indirect effects as well. Studies have found that chronic short sleep is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, but it is unclear whether the direct association between short sleep and CVD is due to a direct relationship with a person’s BMI or is instead mediated by a person’s emotional distress. However, a person’s physical activity can be a determinant of a person’s ability to cope with negative emotions and resist them.
Another research study focusing on the indirect impact of physical activity on mental health focused on the role of emotional intelligence and resilience. This study used a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to examine the relationship between these two variables. The results showed that a person’s emotional intelligence mediated the relationship between the amount of physical activity and the regulatory emotional self-efficacy. Moreover, a person’s positive emotions were found to contribute to the ability to deal with negative emotions. Finally, it was shown that a person’s positive emotional experience during physical activity can have a positive impact on the individual’s ability to resist negative emotions.
Although studies have found indirect effects between physical activity and other elements of mental health, the link between the two elements of mental health is still uncertain. Hence, more research is needed to clarify this relationship. Using the extended broaden and build theory of positive emotion, the researchers investigated the role of physical activity in building emotional resiliency and emotional intelligence. Using this framework, they evaluated the validity of the model. They found that both physical activity and emotional intelligence were significant mediators of the relationship between the amount of physical activity and emotional self-efficacy.