Aside from the physical benefits of exercise, which are reason enough to do it, the mental health benefits are priceless. Sigmund Freud said ‘depression is anger turned inwards’. People who suffer from depression often have intense “critical inner voices” that perpetuate feelings of unworthiness and shame.
I feel that unless one is enlightened, we’re all vulnerable to paying far too much attention to our inner critic from time to time. For some of us that is more of a challenge due to trauma or for clinical reasons.
Of course, depression manifests in a number of ways and can range from mild to debilitating.
So I can only speak for myself and say that for me ,workouts are a critical part of my mental health management. Exercise helps me avoid turning anger & frustration inwards.
I call this ‘finding grit’. When I think I can’t do more, I dig in, channel anger and say to myself ‘watch me’. It’s why I am known to have ‘warrior face’ in a workout. I leave feeling proud & strong, stress hormones replaced with ‘nature’s reward’ - dopamine. It’s my way of not listening to my inner critic & standing up to depression.
It grounds me in my true self & connects me to my world & the support of others who train with me.
Of course I’m not suggesting a workout can magically erase depression forever or even close, but it can certainly be a part of a medicine cabinet.
Exercise should never be about being hard on yourself, it’s about saying - I’ve got this, I’m enough, I made it here & that’s awesome. Some laugh, some cry and some of us release anger.
If you struggle just turning up because you’re feeling too low to reach out or your inner critic’s voice is far too loud, we’ve got you - ask for help.
There are always FitRevers seeking to keep each other accountable, car pool and check in, Coaches to lend a helping hand or just listen & if required we can connect you to an excellent therapist.
You’re not alone at Fitness Revolution, we can help each other find grit.
Coach Nicky McKimmie