MAKE SURE THE THINGS WE DO TO MAKE OURSELVES FEEL BETTER DON’T MAKE US FEEL WORSE
This is something that I have found to be particularly true in terms of my desire to improve my physical health. (Which I have noticed is the case for an increasing number of people in todays society as well) For 5 years I have attended the gym 4-6 days a week religiously however although I have benefited from it and enjoyed it to some extend recently I have come to realize that even though I persisted in attending to stay healthy and feel better it was in fact resulting in me feeling worse, even unhealthy. True my physical health was somewhat good and stable but my mental wellbeing was the trade. Because I, more often than not, attended the gym out of obligation, rather than desire, it drained me mentally (even more so than it did physically) and additionally feeling necessitated to make time to workout when I had little-to-no time to begin with stressed me out to the point where stressing to exercise in between school and work seemed less stressful than stressing about when to make up for the workout that I had missed, if I accepted that I in reality did not have time.
In traveling these past 6 months I was forced to retrieve from the addiction to exercise which ultimately had me reflect upon my exercising habits. I acknowledged the levels of stress it had created inside of me however I also acknowledged that attending the gym and exercising had to some extend simultaneously assisted in increasing my levels of happiness as it likewise seemed to relieve stress. That being said, it occurred to me that I generally don’t enjoy working out in a gym (at least not before I finish) and I became real about my incentive. I realized that everything that I was able to achieve at the gym was temporary and in that realization I instantly decided that I wanted to spend my time doing something that isn’t. (or at least doing something that I enjoy doing for the act of doing it rather than the result of doing it)
I started spending hours everyday writing, reading, drawing and photographing, something I have not had the time to do for years, in place of exercising. I would still exercise not religiously but when my body and mind craved it. I started running whenever I felt like it, for however long. In the past I would track each run without exception to keep count of distance and pace but now I ran for the shear pleasure of doing so. In my reflection upon my exercising habits I discovered that although tracking helps me push myself it also prevents me from listening to my body. By running out of enjoyment I have found it is much easier not to pursue when I feel my body aching. I like running because it relieves stress as well, I like that it is outside and I like the flexibility of it. Conclusively, it is something that, in contrast to working out at the gym, I enjoy for the act rather than the results. This renewed mentality also led me to fall in love with yoga which I now take pleasure in every morning. Neither more nor less than I desire. I enjoy yoga because I like feeling the improvement in flexibility, it occurs stress relieving as well and it makes me feel more connected with my body.
This mentality relates to everything. I know I have made a promise to myself to never again waste time doing something that generally does not make me feel better and if I could pass on any advice from my adolescent experience this would be it. (or one of them at least…)