Exercise. I hate its guts and want to punch it in the face. However, as a non-drug/infrequent alcohol user it’s among the few things that give me an immediate mood lift. I’ve used exercise like a drug to shift grumpy moods, to calm my nerves before nerve-wracking events, to kill my lethargy, to re-set anxious thoughts. When I do it regularly I’m more alert, more engaged with what’s happening around me, more talkative and social.
When I began exercising, I built up 5 minutes a day because of my serious aversion to anything but walking. This made it easier for me and less punishing. When I do make myself exercise regularly, the mood benefits over time become reinforcing in themselves and I find I want to do it, rather than it being a ‘smart thing to do’. Having said that, today was the first day I’ve exercised in months.
It’s still something I find very difficult to make myself do. I’m very lucky to have always had a healthy weight and felt comfortable in my body. That means, though, I don’t have my vanity as a motivator, and despite myself, I’m often more motivated by my vanity than my health 😐 So, I remind myself things like ‘sweat’s good for my skin’ and ‘exercise promotes collagen production in the skin’ and other claims I’ve never bothered to fact-check in detail…. Seems to help 🤷♀️
This article explains the necessity of exercise for good mental health: