The Mental Power of Movement


In our modern lives, it’s easy to overlook the importance of movement for our mental wellbeing. Yet, from the day we’re born, movement has been integral to our growth both mentally and physically. Just think about the phrase “Fight or Flight” — it’s a perfect example of how our mind reacts to danger and takes physical action.

Take a moment to reflect on your week so far. I am sure you can recall moments when your mind alerted you to potential danger. Maybe it was urgently rushing to a meeting, waiting impatiently for important news, or simply navigating a busy and stressful day. In these moments, our minds can easily slip into negative thinking patterns if we don’t give them a positive focus.

The UK’s “Centres for Control and Prevention” organisation makes the same observation: “being physically active can improve your brain health”. Whilst you might know this recommendation, you might find it challenging to activate it.

Enter stage left: the national 2024 theme for the UK’s Mental Health Awareness Week. The week runs between 13th – 19th May and focuses on the theme: “Movement: Moving more for our mental health”. The Mental Health Foundation explains why they focus on this theme: “Movement is important for our mental health. But so many of us struggle to move enough. We want to help people find moments for movement in their daily routines.”

So, how can you incorporate movement into your daily routine in a way that benefits both your body and mind? Let me share my own story and experience as an example. The goal here is to put time into your busy life.

Why I have a Morning Movement Routine Focused on Positivity and Control

I would like to share some background about my mental journey and why I action this routine. When I was undergoing a mental trauma with terminal brain cancer in 2017, I went to a talk run by the Brain Tumour Research Charity. One of the senior doctors from California spoke of her patients who focused on their own ‘Positivity’ and ‘Control’. She was pleasantly surprised medicine was not the most important action for patients but their mental approach through these 2 areas. Movement is full of positivity and control.

Here is my routine:

1. Body (and Mind) Stretches with a Podcast (12 mins): I start my day with neck and leg stretches next to my bed while listening to a podcast. Currently, I’m enjoying “Bible in One Year” by HTB London.

2. Cold Shower (5 seconds on average): Yes, just 5 seconds. The full Wim Hof Method for 2 minutes does not suit me. A quick cold shower helps wake me up and invigorate my body and mind. Whatever happens in the day, I know I have completed this challenge, with some heavy breathing.

3. Walk Up a Hill (5 mins): I take a short walk up a nearby hill, enjoying the fresh air and movement in my body, noticing how my mind relaxes. I connect my body and mind with the present moment; not thinking about yesterday and the big ‘To Do’ list today.

4. Connection with Nature (30 seconds): At the top of the hill, I touch the trunk of the same oak tree and turn around to look back at the same view. Sometimes, my mind is slower and my body stiffer, but the beautiful external landscape and nature are still there. Try to find a location that you can focus on and that takes you away from your inner focus only.

5. Walk Back Down the Hill (5 mins): I walk back down the hill, feeling more energised and ready to start my day. I praise myself and use that memory to bring smiles into the day.

It’s not always easy to get earlier out of bed, especially when my mind is telling me to enjoy the rest. But by incorporating movement into my morning, I’m able to approach the day with a more rational and positive mindset. I know from my own experience and training my clients that a Movement Routine improves the mind, and body — have a go.

Finding Your Own Movement Routine to Drive Positivity and Control:

You don’t have to copy my routine exactly, but I encourage you to find what works for you. The word ‘Routine’ is key. I interviewed an ex-pupil at Wellington College, Berkshire, for their Wellbeing programme. We discussed the role of Mental Resilience, and she mentioned the role of routine in her life and how it gives her focus and confidence. You can listen to the full interview HERE.

Some Tips:

Positivity: Choose movement activities that make you feel and think good thoughts. Notice the feelings when you start and when you finish. This could be in the gym, doing a quick walk at pace, 10 press-ups, or meditation to move the mind.

Control: Take ownership of your routine. It’s not about comparing yourself to others but finding what works best for you. Comparing is dangerous and a waste of time — your body and mind are unique.

Finding Your Circle of Strength:

Think about what activities bring you joy, what gets you out of bed in the morning, and what topics you love to talk about. Write these down and consider how movement can be incorporated into them.

By finding your own Circle of Strength and incorporating movement into your daily routine, you’ll not only feel better physically but also experience a positive impact on your mental well-being. Enjoy the journey of movement and remember to be patient with yourself. With time and practice, you’ll discover the incredible benefits it brings to both your mind and body.

I hope that this article makes a difference. I will be talking more about this over the MHAWeek period and beyond.

A bit about the author Patrick Melville

Patrick is founder of Melville Mental Solutions (MMS). He launched MMS in 2018 when he was recovering from treatment for his brain tumour. Patrick is now a professional mental health expert and runs programmes to all types of organisations. MMS has evolved as people want guidance and inspiration and now provides a range of services: in-house research, workshops/webinars, articles, podcasts, 1-to-1 sessions and official MHFA England training.

You can see more on the MMS website:

If you want to ask about how MMS can help your business and community please feel free to get in touch via email:

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