I often speak about doing the inner work: meditation, raising awareness, being present, staying in a resourceful state, observing your feelings etc. Whilst this work is truly important, and self-analysis is crucial for personal growth, there is absolutely nothing that can give us mental/emotional strength faster than physical exercise. Inner work requires patience, dedication and discipline. Physical exercise helps us follow-through.
For most of us the time has come to apply more resistance in order to grow not only our physical but mental/emotional muscles too. Probably more than ever before, we need outstanding mental/emotional resilience. We must stand strong on our two feet, we can’t be wobbly – we have to be decisive. Furthermore, we need to be willing to go that extra mile, firstly, by increasing resistance during an exercise, secondly, by taking this practice off our mats and into our work/our relationship/our ways of contributing to this world.
Many sources would tell us that our mental strength determines the strength of our physical body, however, I truly believe that it works the other way around too – we can build our mental/emotional strength by strengthening our body. Here is why:
- Motion is emotion.
Movement changes our body’s chemistry in an instant. Even a smallest movement, such as putting on a smile when you don’t feel like it, will change how you feel. Adopt different postures (of a depressed person, of a confident person, of a happy person), and see how each posture impacts the way you feel. When you go through a challenging workout routine, what does that make you feel like? Like a Spartan, like a champion – you call it whatever resonates with you. If you are feeling like a champion frequently, what happens to your mental/emotional muscles? You start building champion’s mentality outside-in.
- “Your vibes speak louder than your words” – Gabby Bernstein
Good heart-pumping exercise moves stagnant energy. Energy is meant to be flowing in our bodies without any restrictions. This is vitally important for our well-being, and it determines how we show up in the world. In its natural flow our energy is our life-force. The more blocked the energy, the more sluggish, indecisive, upset we feel. By restoring a natural flow of energy, we can reverse these negative feelings.
- Exercising releases dopamine, endorphins and serotonin.
Dopamine boosts mood, motivation and attention. Endorphins are body’s natural pain killers. They relieve emotional stress and physical pain. Serotonin is known as a happy chemical because it contributes to our happiness and feeling of well-being. Wouldn’t it be great to get a bit of body’s own chemical advantage here?
- Your body is a vessel for your soul’s purpose.
It may sound like a “woo-woo” to you. However, think about it. We need our bodies to be at their best in order to achieve things we desire in this world. The stronger are our bodies, the more confidence we have in our ability to get to our ultimate destination.
- “I can, and I will” / getting out of your comfort zone.
The easiest way to get into a habit of getting out of our comfort zone is through exercise. By increasing resistance in our workout routines, we make pushing the limits familiar – we train our “I can, and I will” muscles that, eventually, will help us push through any adversity in life.
Just like a muscle, we grow through resistance – through challenge. Let’s increase resistance in our exercising routines, so when life throws a challenge at us next time, we are more confident in our ability to deal with it, and we have a much greater resilience.
Wherever you are with your workouts, try something new. The next step for you might be yoga, running, cycling or weight lifting… There is no one-size-fits-all here. Just note where you are right now and keep on taking it to the next level. Simply “push harder” as your personal fitness trainer would tell you.