Why I advocate exercise to improve mental health

There are two main reasons I advocate exercise to improve mental health. The first is because it is convincingly backed by psychological research. The second is due to my own experience of mental ill-health. The first reason is self explanatory, research is a great tool for us to find truth. The second I can go into more detail about, if you’d like to hear it (then keep reading). I, like many others, have struggled with confidence and self esteem. From a young age I experienced a deep depression and anxiety which spanned over many years and I did not have the tools to get out of these disorders. I was an emotional wreck a lot of the time and I felt very alone and unstable. Once I hit my teen years, I used alcohol to deal with my problems and sadness. I did see a therapist in school but I felt it didn’t help.

Looking around I didn’t see much help for what I was experiencing. Buddhism and philosophy were the first teachings that I found solace in, however I did not know how to put these teachings into practice as I was living in such extremes (drinking to the point of blackouts). When I moved away to go to university I found my new drug to help me cope. I quickly became seriously addicted to marijuana and this consumed nearly all of me. I was never sober and this made my already problematic mental state spiral out of control. I became a horrible person who was bitter and nothing like my true self.

Not only was I mentally addicted to the drug but I was also seriously physically dependent on it, as I had developed and become very ill with severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome. For me, this meant I would be sick continually without the drug and this would also often happen even when I had marijuana. However, marijuana was the only thing that would take away my feeling of nausea and sickness. Eventually, I couldn’t cope with my hopeless future of working a full-time shitty job just to fund my habit and I moved home to study Psychology. I couldn’t afford my habit and eventually my body slowly recovered to a level of health. With a clear mind for the first time in years, I started to dedicate my energy into self-improvement. This first came in the form of running and clean eating, and soon I had some drastic changes in perspective which showed me the power of mindset.

From here there was still much to learn and honest self reflection was much needed, but it did eventually come. It took several years from here for me to become so sober I could no longer block out the truth. That truth was God. He saved me and allowed me to finally be honest about who I was, am and had been. All I can say is that none of this was pretty.

However he transformed the impossible task of truth, into possible. A miracle for me. Now I live by Him and although the consequences of my past behaviours still remain I at least now feel I can love myself the way the Lord loves me. Even if you are a non-believer like I was for my whole life, truth, exercise and love can help you reshape your life. This is why my guide combines these vital aspects and is why I advocate exercise to improve mental health and build mental strength. It not only improved my mental health but it took me out of the darkest place and gave me a completely new bright and hopeful perspective, that is not describable in words. Your life may not need saving the way that mine did, but there is always room for improvement. Improve your mindset and you will improve your life, I can promise you that.

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