Don’t Forget to Move Your Body Today, Your Mental Health Will Thank You
It’s no secret that movement is the best medicine when it comes to keeping your mental health in check. The tough part? Proactively moving your body.
by Ariella Sharf
It’s no secret that movement is the best medicine when it comes to keeping your mental health in check.
The tough part? Proactively moving your body.
Our minds have a silly way of tricking us into thinking that moving our body is for the sole purpose of staying physically fit. Innately, we perceive it as a punishment, something we HAVE to do to keep in shape rather than something we get to do. Even more so, we forget it is so easily at our disposal.
I’ve been on a mental health journey for over a decade and let me be clear, it has not been linear by any means. Around 18 years old, I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Dysthymia, a form of chronic depression. Now, at the age of 30, I’m in the best place I have been mentally in (what feels like) my entire life and I have movement to thank for a large part of that.
Yes, I’ve had to shift my thinking into viewing exercise as a privilege rather than a punishment, but there has never been a single time that I found myself regretting having exercised. Those feel good hormones are pumping like crazy and you truly feel like you can take on the world. Knowing how good movement made me feel mentally, I needed to find a way to challenge myself to be consistent and overcome those valley moments where the thought of physical activity was daunting.
So, I ran a half marathon. I say that so casually because truthfully, I still can’t believe it and I don’t think I ever will. I was not a runner by any means, in fact, I loathed running. I paid around a $150 registration fee and used that as my stake in the ground, it helped convince me there was no backing out. Training began 14 weeks on the dot prior to the race and you better believe I followed the plan to a T.
I was eating better, sleeping better, moving my body almost every other day, and overall feeling amazing. It became something I constantly had to look forward to, a new lifestyle. Shopping for new activewear became so fun and new interests were unlocked (do you even know how many energy gels are on the market?! lol). It didn’t end when I crossed the finish line.
The race ended with tears streaming down my face and me immediately looking up the next half marathon I could sign up for. On top of the sense of accomplishment was the habit and near addiction I formed around how moving my body makes me feel, something that is so heavily in my control.
Moral of the story? Don’t forget to move your body today, your mental health will thank you.
by Ariella Sharf, @ariellasharf