Under the Weights: How Lifting Weights Strengthens My Mental Health
Most days, I feel pretty good. I'm happy and feel confident. But there are days where I feel...broken. On those days, I have to consciously make an effort to not let the negative thoughts take over - thoughts of not being good enough, of messing everything up.
I grew up with dysfunction from a young age so I quickly developed defense mechanisms (both healthy and unhealthy) including working hard to be strong on the outside and go unnoticed - to not stand out in a crowd. But on the inside, I was scared and stressed. And while I am far from being that young girl as an adult, I can still fall prey to that. On my broken days, I question every move and decision I make with unfair judgement and negative self talk - I am scared and stressed all over again.
And that's really what makes me love lifting weights - especially on those broken days. There's something special about being under the weights and in complete control. It reminds me I am strong both inside and out. I don't try to go un-noticed - instead I am front and centre. It takes me out of my own thoughts and into my whole body. It builds the body up and increases the release of feel good hormones. In weight training, you learn to endure discomfort (both physical and mental) that comes with pushing yourself. It takes me from a state of "Ugh...I can't" to "F*ck, yes I can!!".
I am stronger physically than I have ever been in my 36 years but I know that I am even more mentally strong because of the time I put into my body. If only I could go back to that young girl and tell her that within her lies unbelievable strength and determination...and that she is always good enough!
Do you have mental health challenges? Can you relate to my struggle? I'd love to connect! Reach out and let's build a stronger you!