This is a bonus post in the Exercise for Trauma Recovery Series.
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The difference between exercising for appearance vs mental wellness
How to make yourself DO IT
Guest Blogger Danny Urbana "Get up and get down and get outside"
I’m a master of torture.
I can turn any day into an Olympic exercise in self-determination and brutalization.
Got work to do? I’ll be at it for 18 hours straight. Trying a new hobby? Chain yourself down until it’s passable. Thinking of a fun, easy day? No time or dollars to spare.
In short, I regularly can’t be trusted to do the things my brain and body need. If there’s an activity that would benefit me… you’d better believe I’ll turn it into a slave-driving exercise in willpower and endurance.
And, if you hadn’t caught on by now, the same applies to exercising the right way.
Don’t be like me. Exercise for the right reasons. Exercise for wellness.
Because trauma brains cannot be trusted - How do you know which exercise path you’re on?
This is the difference between exercising for appearance and exercising for mental wellness.
IMHO an exercise routine developed with the intention of lookin good will inevitably collapse for trauma sufferers.
We're too uniquely skilled at talking shit to ourselves, perfectionism, and defeat. We have addictive personalities and controlling tendencies that can't sustain themselves. We compare ourselves to everyone and feel immense shame for every perceived failure. We suffer from manic and depressive streaks that start and stop our activities abruptly. We get stuck in freeze states, incapacitated with indecision, guilt, and stagnation. We have obsessive brains that become overly occupied with daily stress and potential threat.
And we're great at dissociating without realizing it.
When you're pushing yourself to reach some unattainable goal, you're probably not paying attention to the way your body feels. Don't listen to your tired body. Stop worrying about that growing pain in your shins. Shut off your hunger recognition.
Retreat into your head and remind yourself how hot you'll look.
When you're pushing yourself to improve your physical condition, emotional load, and mental organization... you're coming from a place of awareness and attunement.
Rather than escaping from your body, you learn to respect and trust it. You pay mind to the signals its sending you. You have faith that a day when you feel physically exhausted is just that - a day when you need a goddamn break. You realize that you'll feel better tomorrow if you listen up and respond with kindness - and you can go back to challenging yourself at that point.
You believe in yourself and your physical condition; you know you will return to your practice ASAP. You won't get stuck in a stagnation phase, you won't shame yourself into indecision, and you won't be bowled over by activity anxiety, because you enjoy exercising for mental wellness.
It's a gift to yourself and everyone around you. Not a training marathon for bikini season.
How you feel when you shift your focus to wellness
Exercising for appearance feels heavy, tense, endless.
Exercising for wellness feels light, enjoyable, never long enough.
One will be hard to do, the other will feel like a refreshing dip.
Exercising for appearance removes your brain from your body.
Exercising for wellness puts your brain into your body.
One will encourage dissociation, the other will reconnect you with physical experience.
Exercising for appearance promotes unhealthy eating habits.
Exercising for wellness keeps your diet balanced and full of energy.
One strains your system from both ends, the other works in cohesion with your biochemistry.
Exercising for appearance is an obligatory chore.
Exercising for wellness is a goddamn treat.
One fills you with dread, the other sparks excitement.
Exercising for appearance is a testament to willpower.
Exercising for wellness is evidence of evolution.
One is born from a place of shame, the other a desire for change.
Another bonus post in this endless exercise harassment, done!
If you haven't checked out the prior introductory posts, take a gander at my past few blogs. For the big daddy master post, check out last week's here!