Dealing with the Stress and Fear of Going to the Gym

Trying to navigate our negative thoughts is one of the more difficult parts of dealing with mental illness. Our brains are constantly going over things on their own that don’t really have an impact or importance on our lives as a whole. We let those thoughts fill our heads with lies and made up ideas that only bring us down and make us suffer. Often times, we project those things onto other people and assume that this is what they must be thinking about ourselves. It’s a draining sense of paranoia that makes it hard for us to try and put ourselves out there in the world. 

You can find this in abundance in the world of fitness and exercise. Everyone wants to be healthier and look a certain way. We won’t argue for or against our society’s prioritizing of our physical appearance, as that is a complete topic all on its own, but we do know that it is a consistent part of life for most of us. We make a promise to ourselves that we are going to make an effort to change our lifestyle, making those New Year resolutions to get in the gym and get in shape, and that is great. We applaud everyone who makes a conscious effort to improve and better themselves. There are also many benefits to exercising that really help your mental health condition. Fitness is a cathartic way for us to purge ourselves of negative emotions and mindsets. When our illnesses begin to flair up, we head to the gym and work it out of our system. Exercise has been proven to help with mild to moderate depression as the release of endorphins your body experiences when working out helps to lift your overall mood. As your body becomes more fit, you start to notice a physical improvement, and as your energy levels begin to improve, you will have a more positive mindset because you just feel better about yourself. Physical improvement will bring on mental and emotional improvement, and you can begin to feel the weight of mental illness become a little lighter. 

It’s not an easy thing to do. In fact, starting that journey is often the hardest part of it. When we think about going to the gym, we begin to feel out of place or like we would stick out from everyone else. It’s that projection of our own head’s negative thoughts that we are assuming others are thinking. If we are new to weight lifting, running, or anything else, we worry that we will look foolish, that our form will be bad. We fear that people will mock us for not knowing what we are doing or look down on us for not looking as good as them. This is an unfortunate side effect of some people really being that self-judgmental. However, in the world of fitness, most of the people you meet will encourage you to be the best you can be. A lot of people who are at the gym will respect you for the simple fact you are there and that is something that is worth praise. You are making an effort to be better and not letting your health fall to the wayside. It doesn’t matter how you look or your ability to do certain things; what matters is your drive to improve and your willingness to put in the work to get there. We are here to encourage and support you, not tear you down for not being at a certain level. There will be those who want to put you down but they are few and far between, and they don’t matter. Their opinion is irrelevant to you because they are the people who wish they could be someone else. You don’t need to compare yourself to anyone; let your progress come and enjoy the feeling of getting healthier. 

There are too many negative mindsets in this world and they intrude on too many good things. Going to the gym and pursuing a healthier lifestyle should not be something that gives you trepidation. You should feel comfortable at whatever level you are at and you should know that everyone has to start somewhere. Don’t let the stereotypes deter you from going and certainly don’t let your own inner voice tell you that you’re not good enough. You are good enough! Enjoy improving yourself and continue to push yourself to achieve your goals. Your health matters and you have every right to start making an effort to improve it. 

 If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]