Fitness and Depression

There has been a million articles written discussing the link between depression and physical exercise. I also felt like there was something missing with each of them. Something wasn't ringing true with me. This is my attempt at discussing the hidden side of depression.

Okay lets state the obvious. When you are depressed, physical activity generally makes you feel better! It works better than antidepressants (so the research tells us).

The usual advice for years has been, if you are depressed, you should exercise and it will help you feel less depressed!

Okay sounds good.

In reality, well my reality at least, is that when you are depressed, and you full well know that exercise makes you feel better, the depression prevents you from acting rationally.

You feel like, you are not worthy of feeling good, you don't deserve it, you deserve to have a shitty life, you deserve to mop around and be lazy all day, you deserve to slowly decline from self destructive behaviors. Its conceited to think otherwise, to love yourself. Thats for other people, not for you. Thats what depression tells you. If you do manage to fight it and do something healthy for your self, you still feel guilty about it.

Everyone else makes it sound so simple, well maybe because it is. Love yourself, exercise, eat healthy, do wonderful things with your life. With that you should start to feel better, at least you'll be on the right track, and what Ive noticed is that if your life is on a track that you want it to be on, you generally feel pretty good about life.

Depression is a killer. It prevents you from having the life that you deep down want, but also deep down think that you don't deserve.

So how to fix it?

I don't really have a good answer for that, just try your best? Thats what Ive been doing forever and I will say I am much less depressed that I was when I was younger. There are many self help books out there that I find very useful. One of my favorites is "How to be a badass" by Jen Sincero. I find that it helps be get in the right mindset for improving my life, as without some form of daily reminder, I can let depression slowly take over and down the rabbit hole I go.

As far as fitness goes, my advice is try not to think about it as "fitness". Just go do something that you actually enjoy, and keep doing more of it. For me thats photography and hiking, well more precisely, hiking to go take more photos! Its a good form of physical activity and I don't even think of it as fitness. Yet because it is, and I enjoy it, it helps with my depression. Im guessing you can come up with some version that applies to you as well.

And the best part is, I don't feel guilty for enjoying my life.

Feel free to leave a comment and share your experience with this, I don't know anyone personally who thinks like me on this subject, but I bet I'm not alone! I bet you're not either.

Michael LundComment