How Exercising Made Me Feel Better About Myself

June 9, 2021by Simran Tuteja0


Effect of COVID-19 on our everyday life

2020 was a difficult year for all of us, COVID-19 suddenly hit us and we were all subjected to stay inside our houses. The pandemic did not just affect our physical health but also the economy, our lifestyles and had a major impact on our mental health, as well.

In November 2019, I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression and Anxiety Disorder. Every day I used to wake up, go to the bathroom and see a woman in the mirror. Every time that I looked at that woman, I asked her the same question- Who are you?

I spent most of my time at the psychiatrist’s and the therapist’s before lockdown trying to get better. But once the lockdown was imposed, I couldn’t go to the hospital, not even to buy my medications.

While I gave into the lockdown trends like making cup-cakes and dalgona coffee to feel better, I ended up eating a lot and gained a lot of weight. Gaining weight is completely fine until it starts to affect your self-image and self-confidence negatively and that is what happened to me. The breakdowns became more regular and my mental health started deteriorating.

Like a rational person, I decided to cut down my calorie consumption and started working out. I started watching Emi Wong and Chloe Ting YouTube videos and worked out for forty minutes but that soon turned into two and a half-hour workouts. I was exercising and consuming healthy food every day. By the end of 2020, I was in better shape and a better place mentally as well. But how did exercising regularly help me get better?

Scientific relation between exercising and mental health

A person is deemed depressed when their brain does not release enough Endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that are produced by our pain to relieve stress and anxiety. Exercising helped my brain release endorphins and other important chemicals such as serotonin and adrenaline. Serotonin helped in elevating my mood and overall sense of well-being. It helped improve my appetite and sleep cycle which are often affected by depression. Adrenaline is a stress hormone that plays an important role in one’s fight-or-flight response.

How exercising helped me

While exercising, I was more focused on my body movement hence distracting me from depressing thoughts. When you are in good shape, your self-esteem and self-confidence also improve. Hence, exercising improved my mental health by reducing depression and anxiety by improving my self-esteem and cognitive function.

I still exercise 5-6 times a week not just to have the desired shape I want but also to feel better about myself, physically and mentally. At the end of the day, I go back to meet that woman in the mirror again, to tell how grateful I am to have met her and not give up on her.

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