I am by nature a curious mix: sometimes people call me an upbeat and sunny-dispositioned fellow, but I also possess a dark, cynical, world-will-end-soon mood at times. My set point and natural resting state is pretty cheerful, but too many hours of the New York Times or NPR news will put me in a sour mood, as I sit up and take notice of the awful things going on in the real world, a world which I manage to ignore most of the time. Keep calm and carry on, and all that.
Now that I’ve been commuting to and from work (20 miles each way) for three months, I am pleased to report that my mood has shifted toward sunny me and away from dark, cynical me. The constant exercising is somehow re-wiring my brain and making me disposed to feelings of contentment and satisfaction a much higher percentage of the day.
If you know someone who suffers from mild to moderate depression, see if they won’t try one month of bike commuting instead of driving (at least a few days a week) and have them report back to you.