A couple of weeks ago, I started doing some weight training exercises for the first time in at least a few years. Lifting weights is something I’ve done on and off for years, but I’d fallen away from it for some time. But one day, kind of randomly, I went into the gym and headed for the weights. After the first session, my body was sore in places I’d forgotten I could be sore in, and these new exercises taught me a valuable lesson in how we can help ourselves adjust to things, not only physically, but mentally as well.
If you think about it, lifting weights can actually be a good metaphor for mental health. There are so many exercises you can do, and you can work every part of your body if you so choose. In fact, there are even multiple ways that you can exercise the same part of your body by doing different exercises. In fact, physical exercise can often lead to training a part of ourselves we haven’t used in a long time.
Physical exercise can help our bodies adjust to the rigors and surprises of everyday life. Sometimes, you don’t know what you’re preparing for until that preparation comes in handy. When that moment arrives, you can meet the moment not because you’re ready for it, but because of the time you spent preparing for the possibility.
When we wake up in the morning, we don’t always know what’s expected of us. Some days are relatively calm, while others can have us going from the moment we wake up until our head hits the pillow. Our mental health is the same way. We don’t always know how things are going to impact us, or how a certain moment or event will make us feel. When those moments occur, that’s when we can lean on the training and work that we’ve done in the past. Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve been training for until you put it into action.
I’d like to encourage anyone reading this today to think about this metaphor of physical exercise, and how it can help us improve our mental health. Has it been a while since you worked on a specific part of your wellness? What are some ways you could build mental fitness? Physical exercise can help our bodies adjust to different things, but it’s time to acknowledge that we can do this mentally as well. This is just one more area for growth on our mental health journeys and from what I’ve seen, it can be an important one!
Now, over to you! Do you have any favorite metaphors surrounding mental health? Do they involve exercise? Let me know in the comments!
Wonderful post Nathan and what a interesting idea to connect lifting weights to mental health. I can see lifting weights as a burden we unconsciously feel sometimes when we are going through tough situations. We pray to God to lighten the weight of difficulties. But instead those burdens are actually making us stronger by preparing our bodies to live a better life.