It is that time of year where we all take time to reflect on the past twelve months and start setting goals for ourselves to be achieved in the next twelve. For most, a new year brings new changes, attitudes and emotions. One thing I have noticed is that with the expansion of social media- this time every year is becoming the best time to create the ULTIMATE HIGHLIGHT REEL for everyone. Seriously, get on Instagram and it can seem like a competition of who has the most perfect life and I just want to give a quick update: nobody has a “perfect” life. On that note, the level of content I have consumed on social media over the past week has made me really begin to be grateful for the state of my mental health.
The reason why I feel this way is because I believe that if I wasn’t so in-tune with who I am and what makes me happy, I know I would get caught up in that game and end up feeling like I am not doing enough. People who get jealous/envious/sad when scrolling through their Instagram have been SOLD that everyone’s life is perfect except theirs. I have been guilty of this at times in the past but I, over time, realized that this belief I had was flawed. What has helped me in the area of mental health may not work for everyone but I think it should be talked about- and that is the role of physical health!
When I think about it, I have been a huge fan of fitness, working out and training ever since I was an eighth grader at South Middle School in Nampa, ID. As an adult, there are three things I want to explain about how my PHYSICAL well being positively impacts my MENTALITY.
At the young age of 22, I am so aware that I am basically a baby in the game of life and so if you are like me I think we can agree that there are so many things that happen in the 14-19 hours that we are awake that we can not control! Whether it’s the red light that made you late for the meeting, the person who took the last “whatever” at the store that you needed or something happening in your office- it is so important to not focus on those things. THE ABSOLUTE #1 REASON that I enjoy working out in a gym is that I AM in control, meaning I get to decide exactly what I am doing. The sets, the reps, the weight etc. is all at my discretion and it gives me the great sense of control in my head that keeps my mind at peace! So, for me the way I stay in control mentally is through working out but it is not meant to be that way for everyone. For some, that sense of control may come through writing or driving a car, I just think everyone should find their “thing” that helps them feel like they are in the proverbial drivers seat. SUPER IMPORTANT.
Focusing on your physical health is so incredibly crucial because I believe that it spills over into a ridiculous amount of our lives in the form of confidence. When you physically feel like shit, it reflects in your attitude and it is the same in the opposite direction. When I finish a work out, although I am sore and tired, I feel so good and it radiates through my skin. Deion Sanders, longtime NFL superstar and Dallas Cowboy all-time great put it perfectly when he said “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.” Again, for me the one thing that helps me be the healthiest in my mind is to be the healthiest in my body! So, working out and exercising is what keeps my mind right. It may not be that way for you but I think it would be if you tried.
Now, there is an overload of statistical data that supports the assumption that physical health and mental health ARE directly correlated so don’t believe it because I say it, believe it because it’s reality. On top of all the facts that support this thesis, there are things that you can not quantify about physical health and how it helps you mentally. You would be so surprised at how much the human brain associates physical appearance to success and you would not believe the amount of opportunities I feel are coming my way- not all but partially- due to the fact that I am physically in really good shape.
I want to wrap this up by saying that maintaining your physical appearance does take work and can be exhausting at time- especially when it feels like there isn’t enough time but my friends, it is not about time. It is about priorities. American science fiction writer Frank Herbert once said “The mind commands the body and it obeys. The mind attempts to command itself and meets resistance.” I think that those who do try to stay in the best physical shape also develop great characteristics such as work ethic, determination and most importantly SELF- CONFIDENCE- all of which play a part in mental health!
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Until next time,