I ain’t no scientist, but I heard exercise is the most powerful antidepressant.
Ask the scientists, they agree.
As a guinea pig, I can attest that exercise works as an antidepressant - even better than pharmaceuticals, perhaps.
This brings us to the bigger discussion started by Tony Robbins about ‘getting into state’ first.
One of the greatest downward spiraling components of depression is staying inside at home (usually in one’s room). This is certainly how depression manifests for me.
Since I get energy from other humans, staying at home alone completely robs me of the chance to increase my energy, so I become depressed.
So, one might suggest I hit the beach, the mountains, or both (lucky that’s possibly, living in Vancouver and all…).
Connecting the principle to the idea of exercising, we can get even closer to the concept that there is nothing special about your depression at all. For me, this has been an incredibly liberating point on my journey.
Realizing that it’s not my fault - that there’s nothing wrong with me - has been the biggest relief I have every experienced.
Instead of having some sort of unique quality requiring some sort of peculiar, complex, difficult-to-find solution, my cure for my depression is simple:
MOVE YOUR BODY.
Making the jump from the meta-physical to the physical has been the most impactful mindset change I have come across along my entire depression journey.
If mental health is in fact the same (not merely ‘similar’ or ‘related’), then taking care of your physical health will take care of the rest.
Maybe the answer is as simple as going to the gym, for a hike, to the beach, for a walk, etc.
I’ll come back to two long time stories that have repeated themselves in my mind for years (spontaneous repetition of information appears to be the most reliable metric of value in the world of ideas):
First: “I’ve never felt worse after the gym.”
I remember my family would always encourage me to go work out whenever I wasn’t feeling that great, was having an off day, or just had something bad happen. Thinking further about this habit, I start to remember how I would end my workouts with my problems not just solved, but vanished in the first place.
An unhealthy mind creates problems for itself.
Second: “Your physical health and mental health are basically the same thing.”
I heard this phrase in my third year of university and haven’t forgotten it since. I remember getting a weird feeling when I first heard it, since I hadn’t - at that time - acknowledged any of my own struggles with mental health. I thought, “Well that’s great and all, but it’s never going to apply to me since I’m perfectly healthy all the time in every way.”
Years later, the truth has surfaced:
I’m a fallible human. And that’s okay.
I wrote a short ebook on this entire topic; one that I would like to donate to you in the spirit of summer.
I believe mental health is the basis for a healthy life (and society), for one reason: you can’t help anyone if you kill yourself.
Considering suicide is the second leading cause of death among young adults (behind car accidents), calling this work ‘important’ would be an incredible understatement.
All summer long, you can have my beautiful ebook for keeps (yes this means forever!)
Just enter the code: SUMMER at checkout.
And it’s yours!
I love you guys more than life itself.
Keep calm and carry on my friends,