It’s nothing new that the benefits of exercise are truly endless. While eating well may be the first step on your quest to drop the pounds, the mental benefits of working out regularly can far exceed your expectations.
Of course, you’ve probably heard more than once before that exercise boosts both seratonin and dopamine levels. What are these exactly? These neurotransmitters are essentially, and at the most basic level, mood regulators that send out those “feel good vibes” and gives you a sense of feeling rewarded positively. Low levels of these tend to mean a decrease in the ability to feel pleasure which, in turn, can oftentimes lead to depression.
Because of this, we typically see articles exclaiming how exercise can help you beat depression, make you more confident and energized or in general. Less often, do we see specific situations outlined in which exercise is key in making you feel better about your self, relationships and beyond.
So, we’re going there.
If you’ve recently experienced heartache, you might have wanted to immediately turn to a tub of ice cream and Netflix to mend a broken heart. We’ve all been there. I’ve been there. But guess what? While you might feel temporary pleasure from burrowing under the covers and eating high-fat, high-sugar, high-calorie snacks, you are actually digging yourself into a deeper hole than before – forgoing more long-term happiness.
By remaining inactive not only will your heart be aching, but you will generally feel more lethargic, tired and bloated. Wouldn’t it be better to deal with the emotional hurt while feeling physically fit? It’s seriously one less problem to think about.
Not only this, but “giving up” on working out oftentimes leads to poorer eating habits which then becomes a never-ending cycle. You don’t work out, so you eat poorly, the next day you feel gross (not to mention, sad) and don’t work out again and …. before you know it not only are you feeling bad about someone “rejecting” you, but you are also rejecting yourself because you know you could feel and look better with just a little bit of effort.
Of course, everyone should love their body first and foremost at whatever stage it’s at, but that feeling after a grueling workout that you didn’t give up on? That feeling after even just a week of staying on your grind? That feeling of strutting your stuff because you feel good in your own skin? That’s confidence. While some boy/girl’s actions towards you may have given your self-esteem a shot, working out regularly can mend that wound and probably quicker than you think. This boost from hitting the gym will help you bounce back, feel good about yourself and mend that broken heart so you’re not stuck wallowing.
Not only that, but exercise busies the mind. Whether your workout is 10 minutes, 15 minutes a day or 30 minutes, it helps you get your mind off things. Why? Time flies and you’re probably too busy thinking about keeping up or not passing out to think about Mr. or Mrs. so-and-so – or who I like to call “Irrelevant”. If you’re working out regularly, it’s even better. It’s essential to have hobbies you can dedicate yourself whole-heartedly to.
In this respect I would suggest doing workouts that require progression over time – that means not getting on the cardio hamster wheel wasting away hours and not even breaking a sweat. Like to run? Focus on running faster or running longer. Yoga? Try your hand at some of the more advanced positions. Lifting? Lift heavier or for more reps. Having goals to focus on should be forefront and center. Don’t wander aimlessly as this will mean your mind will wander, too! Really, push yourself.
Reference – What is Ashtanga Yoga
I will end with saying that all it takes is one good workout to get you going. If all you feel like doing is crying, let it out. Go home, have a good cry and then get mad like you want to punch or lift or kick something and then get going. Working out will boost your mood, confidence and give you something (much more rewarding) to think about. After all, they do say happiness is the best revenge.
For more Exercise features, check out our articles here.