Mental Health & Exercise
We all know, like anything else in life, dealing with stress on a daily basis can be more than one can handle at times. STRESS can manifest in many shapes and many forms, exams, work, personal, training and a host of others. We see it develop from the physical to mental. Dealing with this can be especially difficult if you don’t have coping strategies in place or a good support network around you to manage it. At some point or another we all go through this. It’s recognising this ugly monster is the major difficulty. It is not for the want of many subtle hints along the way, we continue on and choose to ignore it. The end result is our mental health starts to suffer. Pride can get in the way and as humans we have in place what is considered social norms. These are certain cues that we are governed by and once we step outside of these, we may be considered, weird, strange or even broken. So what happens? In your mind you are constantly fighting with these demons ‘I am fine, there’s nothing wrong with me’. You get on with it until one day, you have had enough, and the world you knew comes crashing in around you.
I for one have found it very difficult to admit it and have chosen more than once to simply ignore it, which is not one bit productive and in fact can be extremely toxic to ones self. It’s that silly pride thing again and the fact that you are trying to be all to everyone and be there for them, that you don’t have time for yourself. Letting something fester is one sure way of an all out crash. The worst thing about this is ,that most of the time you assume it has just happened now, but in reality it has being building up over time. Life is a pressure cooker and unless monitored can leave you very disabled and wondering how you are going to manage.
You find you start to slip up and make mistakes, then try and rectify them, only to stress out more and to make more mistakes and mishaps eventually leading to a series of events that cause a major catastrophic episode, bringing you to your knees very quickly. The road to recovery can be very long, dark and a lonely place.
They say prevention is better than cure, well in this case I would certainly have to agree 100% When you are firing on all cylinders, you can accomplish anything. BUT you need to take a step back and realise that you are over doing it in order to keep that engine ticking over. Your health is everything and when you test it, no matter how strong you think you are you are not going to win...!
You need to try and identify the root or cause of these problems. You can be certain that it is not just one thing (it may be one environment ) but rather an accumulation of a few things or an individual, that have been niggling away at you constantly. It could be work related, family, friends, monetary or a combination of all. We are all only as good as our last act. No one is irreplaceable and when and when you actually realise that, you can start living again. Companies nowadays don’t understand that work to life balance and are happy for you to continue stretching yourself as far as you can for their benefits. They aren’t really interested in how you are actually doing. You are handed a phone number and told call that number if you have any issues or feel like you need to talk. The humanisation has been removed and so has the problem (YOU) as far as they are concerned.
In a seminar recently I asked 10 people to write down from 1-5, (1 being the most important person in their life), who they would consider to be on that list. Without hesitation, every one wrote down, a list from the mammy to the dog. Not a single person wrote themselves down. In reality you are the most important person. If you don’t mind yourself, who will? Sure family and friends may be there when it all goes pear shape for you. But even then it may not be the support you need, they may not have the skills and more often than not say all the wrong things in their attempt to help you. When you are on a detour and not feeling your best, that is your cue, that you need to move in another direction.
We all want a sense of belonging. We are all trying to fit in and seem normal. Technology can distract us and ruin our ability to interact with people. With apps in place to communicate via internet media, texting, email, social media, we have forgotten how to communicate human to human. We have even forgotten how to spell. I have seen students write in text format, and including friends of mine asking how to spell the most basic words...OMG 😊 what has happened to us? My concern are my kids. Watching them interact with other children and developing those social cues, knowing what is acceptable and what is not. Xbox, (while a great babysitter by the way lol), is no good in the developmental stages of a child growing up. Getting back to nature, playing outside, enjoying a creative mind can be hampered by technology. At this stage let me just point out, I am a tech addict and love all kinds of gadgets and gizmos. I was lucky though as I grew up in an era that we spent, building tree houses, Go Karts, Camping and building rafts to add but a small few things that I would have had the pleasure of doing as a child. If on your own we were creative and invented games, you might have started drawing. You just used what was available around you.
Sport as you can imagine became a huge part of my life. It thought me Team building, discipline and respect. You learned to deal with how certain exercise would affect you and how you would be suffer with DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) after 200 sit-ups. You became competive and if you weren’t competing against others you were competing against yourself. Remember no matter, what you will fail in Life, you will lose, it’s what you do next is fundamental. This is the foundation of life. This is what paves the way for the future you. Losses and mistakes are there to bring you back on track. They help us refocus, your life is so much bigger than any one experience. Don’t let some one take that away from you.
There is massive increase in depression, stress and anxiety in this country. I suppose it is only fair to say it is a global epidemic really. There are huge increases in Suicides. It doesn’t stop at the family man or woman, who are finding life unbearable ,but it starts with our youth and goes right up to our senior citizens.
Exercise Medicine for the soul
Those who exercise benefit from the positive hormones and endorphins released, while working out. These endorphins interact with the brains receptors triggering feelings of positivity similar to those of morphine. Some runners have described that feeling after a race or a hard training session as euphoric, we commonly call it a 'runners high'. This of course is only one example. It can boost Mood and provides a social environment where you meet new people and sometimes get to see some regular faces that offer a smile and a salute, first thing in the morning. A smile is infectious, smile at someone, it may be that exact moment they needed it. Say hello even if someone doesn’t say hello back. Having these endorphins (happy hormones) flowing throw your body act with a analgesics feeling acting almost like a sedative and pain killer. Exercise research has shown that it is effective and often underused treatment for mild to moderate depression.
Benefits of Exercise
1. Reduces Stress
2. Improves Sleep
3. Increases your immune system
4. Increases Energy
5. Regulates Blood Pressure
6. Helps with Weight loss
7. Muscle Toning
8. Keeps feelings of Anxiety at bay
9. Strengthens Bones
10. Reduces feelings of Depression
You do not need to be in a gym to enjoy the benefits of exercise. Walking is an effective measure of exercise. It helps you reconnect to nature and if you move at a relatively decent pace can elevate the heart rate enough to warrant a good workout. Add a few hills and awkward terrain and you are knocking out the calories burned. The beauty is this can be done anywhere at any time you choose.
Do what you Love
Do what you love and get the most out of it. It is not always easy to go into a busy gym and see the usual gym rat strutting and puffing the chest out, spreading their Lats although built like a pencil. It is enough to intimidate the average joe from the gym, which is awful really as it can be such an amazing place to make dreams happen.
With physical exercise come the benefits of your body getting stronger. You change and feel good about yourself improving self esteem. It is time for you to reconnect, and disconnect from the negativity that surrounds you. Look for a positive environment and absorb it. Smile, laugh and Move, make it your mantra. There is no failure only learning, all problems have a solution, you must fail in order to perfect your success. Do what makes you happy, and recharge.
Forget the negatives, forget all those failures. It’s time to love yourself and celebrate your life.