I did my research and found that nothing I read about the effects of exercise on emotional regulation was at all helpful. Most articles focused on preventing life threatening illness. While prevention is great, it calls to mind the myriad calamities we humans face everyday and if my blog is about anything, its about healing and faith not fear and illness. So, I decided to wing it.
First off, I walk every day. Sometimes I cry, sometimes I cry and pray, sometimes I cry and pray out loud and talk to a nearby shrub or hug a tree. I am that lady who looks perfectly normal until she says to an unoffending shrub, “Dear God please help me survive today. I’m in your hands and you are all I have.” This is generally how my morning walks go. I walk to release my grief, to breath fresh air, to connect to nature, to connect with God, and to connect with my body in a deep and meaningful way. Half way through my five mile walk I feel a sense of calm come over my mind as if both hemispheres of my brain have stopped fighting. The color of the trees become more vivid and that inoffensive shrub I poured my heart out too looks almost angelic. We’ve become very close.
I don’t stop walking when my mind calms and my grief subsides. I keep walking, setting my sights on a distant garden hidden by trees where I can sit on a park bench and meditate. I keep walking because reaching my five-mile goal will make my body and mind relax for the day and give me the peace I need to soldier on. Once I reach my private garden my eyes are dry and my mind is calm. I can go into deep meditation, connect with God fully and completely, and end my meditation feeling at peace.
Whether you’re having a mental breakdown, suffer with mental health issues, or just feel bummed or anxious about the state of the world, exercise will help. Do what you can, start small, work up slowly, and most important of all, take the deep belly breaths that calm your central nervous system. Today I lifted weights, walked my town, and did some yoga in my micro studio, which was an adventure in itself. And please remember as you move in your own special way that your Creator, by whatever name you use, is with you. Faith is healing even if you choose to pray to a convenient houseplant or an unassuming shrub. Faith will always see you through. So, please remember that… You are held. You are blessed. You are important and needed in this time of change.
Keep going. I love you. You got this.