YMCA Programs Strengthen Mind and Spirit

  • An estimated 40 million adults in the United States live with anxiety disorders – and only one-third of these individuals receive treatment. Additionally, more than 16 million adults have experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
  • According to a study by the American Institute of Stress, 77 percent of adults regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress and 73 percent experience psychological symptoms.
  • According to the American Psychological Association, research shows a connection between mood and exercise – for example, patients with major depressive disorder show greater rates of remission when they engage in regular exercise.

The YMCA of the North, a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, provides holistic program offerings that connect and strengthen to improve mental, physical and spiritual health.

Studies show that millions of adults in the United States live with anxiety, depression, stress or other challenges. Investing in physical, mental and social self-care practices can help, and is especially important during the busy winter months with additional stressors and little daylight. The YMCA offers opportunities to build strength through activities like yoga and tai chi or groups like the Journey to Freedom program.

“The YMCA is committed to whole-life well-being,” said Glen Gunderson, president and CEO for the Y. “Physical, mental and spiritual wellness are all connected, and each can be strengthened at the Y in a variety of ways to meet the needs of each individual.”

Gunderson added that the YMCA’s team of health and wellness experts recommends the following self-care practices to build strength in body, mind and spirit:

  • Pay attention to nutrition and hydration to properly fuel the body
  • Make time for activities that keep your body and mind active
  • Commit to improving the quality and quantity of sleep
  • Enjoy relaxation techniques like yoga, tai chi or meditation
  • Share time with friends

YMCA and community members also have the opportunity to strengthen their mental and spiritual health through the Journey to Freedom program. Journey to Freedom utilizes a small group setting to help participants explore areas of their lives they would like to change. Participants follow the book by Scott Reall and engage in a safe, supportive, caring and confidential environment. In addition to the base program, groups are available that focus on challenges like grief, body image or healthy living.

See how the Y offers opportunities for members of all ages to experience the benefits of exercise beyond physical health – YMCA Health and Wellness: Mind-Body Connection.

Discover how Grant has found support dealing with challenges like disability and depression through his YMCA small group – YMCA Journey to Freedom: Grant’s Story.

Learn how Diane has taken the lessons she learned as a participant in Journey to Freedom to help support others as a group facilitator – YMCA Journey to Freedom: Diane’s Story.

Because the Y is a leading nonprofit committed to helping all young people thrive, financial assistance is available to those in need. With the generous support of community members, the Y ensures that all have the opportunity to participate.