January 12, 2021
1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Joyful Movement – Kelly McGonigal, PhD

Movement—through exercise, social activities, everyday routines, sports, and recreation—can contribute positively to mental well-being. People who are physically active are happier and more satisfied with their lives, have a stronger sense of purpose, and feel more connected to their communities. Physical activity can also support the mental health of people living with anxiety, depression, grief, trauma, and addiction. The psychological and social benefits of maintaining or increasing physical activity have been documented around the world, across the lifespan, and among individuals who also experience significant barriers to regular exercise. Importantly, these benefits are not dependent on weight loss, physical ability, or health status. Instead, they are the result of movement experiences that are accessible, personally meaningful, and enjoyable. 


This workshop will explore why physical activity is such a powerful resource for enhancing mental health. We’ll consider biological, psychological, and social mechanisms, including how physical activity can make the brain more resilient to stress and sensitive to joy; how movement can alter self-image and personal narratives; and why moving with others creates belonging and hope. Drawing on insights from the science of behavior change, we’ll look at how to increase motivation for, meaning from, and commitment to physical activity. We’ll also explore common barriers and obstacles to physical activity, and strategies for reducing or overcoming them.  

Participants will be invited to examine each of these topics through the dual perspectives of self-care and empowering others. We will reflect on personal experiences with movement, consider how to increase meaningful and enjoyable physical activity in our own lives, and explore ways to help others find activities and movement communities that can enhance their mental well-being. 

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Seminar Agenda


Course Objectives

  1. Describe psychological outcomes associated with regular physical activity, in both the general population and in clinical studies, such as exercise interventions for depression.
  2. Explain several mechanisms for how physical activity can benefit mental well-being, including biological, psychological, and social, with examples of common and accessible activities that harness each mechanism. 
  3. Identify common barriers and obstacles to physical activity, including those related to past experiences, social identities, cultural attitudes about exercise, access and resources, and physical or mental health challenges. 
  4. Differentiate among motivations for and mindsets about physical activity that are more versus less effective at helping individuals commit to, and sustain, increased activity levels. 
  5. Describe steps to finding, and making routine, meaningful and enjoyable movement experiences. 

Continuing Education Information

Kaiser Permanente Northern California Mental Health Training Programs is approved by the California Psychological Association to provide continuing professional education for psychologists. Kaiser Permanente Northern California Mental Health Training Programs maintains responsibility for this program and its content. The California Board of Behavioral Sciences recognizes the California Psychological Association’s continuing education credits for use by their licensees. 

Kaiser Permanente Northern California Mental Health Training Programs designate this live activity for 4.0 hours continuing education credits for the above-identified licensed professionals 


Registration is closed for this event.