How Weightlifting Helped With My Mental Health

Mental health wasn’t a big topic in my life. I had effectively ignored it with the mindset that I wasn’t some ‘weak’ chic and chalked it up to something that was passing by. Before embarking on my lifestyle change, I didn’t classify my mood swings, mild panic attacks and paranoia as anything more than a volatile mind.

Only when I was about six months into my training and weightlifting did I notice that I was a lot more…content? Not necessarily ‘happy,’ but my mind was quiet. My thoughts weren’t running crazy and giving me headaches. I wasn’t having as many of these mild attacks of panic where I’d scramble to get a hold of my thoughts, where my breath felt short or when I felt like screaming, crying and throwing something out the window. Instead, I felt at peace. Not every day nor every time, but more often than before, I rejoiced at how collected I felt. I felt like I’ve achieved something; done something productive with myself and I hadn’t felt this way in a long time. Only then did I realize that I wasn’t this content before – I didn’t realize I was ignoring my mental health.

Going to the gym, getting my gloves on, smoothening my palms over the bar as I get ready to lift my heaviest is such an exhilarating moment. Pushing myself to overcome challenges, encouraging my body to make the leap leaves me with nothing but wanting to clap myself on the back: I did it. I achieved it.

I think the endorphin release plays a part in this – the stress-reducing chemical inhibits the fear and less than positive thoughts in my head. However, more than all of that, it’s feeling like I’ve done something good to my body. The thought of: “Heck, I just challenged my body to become fitter, healthier and lighter. And I did that, all by myself” is incredible. It’s a feeling of such accomplishment that I don’t think very many things have topped that.

It’s right at this point when I realized that all the gruelling work I do at the gym, the grunting and the tiny voice in my head saying I can’t do it – but working past it, is all worth it. It’s all bloody worth it. I keep reminding myself how at peace and successful I feel after every workout to fuel myself to wake up at 5AM.

On the back of this, I’ve had to deal with issues of overtraining. I craved this feeling so much that I thought working out all 7 days of the week was better than not, and I learnt the hard way that I was VERY wrong. But I think I’ll leave that for a different post altogether!

Why I am writing all of this, is for you to realize that working out is more than looking good – it’s about improving both your mental and physical wellbeing. Exercise is all about rewarding your body, thanking your body for the work it does but also to build a mind-body relationship that ultimately results in your happiness.

So, the next time you’re thinking of skipping out on a workout because you’re a little lazy, think of how good it feels to finish one – to achieve that ‘workout complete’ status. It’s all worth it. Trust me.

All my love,

Kavi

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