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Sweating out Depression

Sweating out Depression

 
By:  Mission Team October 26, 2020
#AmazingNation, #Depression, #Encouragement, #Strength , #Struggle

As a teenager I battled depression. There were many days where I spent most of my time in my room. Self-hatred consumed me some days, and other days I felt like I was stuck in a vicious cycle of pointlessness and lack of hope. I was fearful of my own thoughts, and it seemed as if someone or something gripped my soul and squeezed the life out of it. I would shed lonely tears and all I desired was to have joy again. I didn’t know how to get there, but somewhere deep within my young self, I knew there was more to life than the depression I was in.

I had a good life; I was a good kid. But the battle I faced with depression filled me with shame. It was exhausting to pretend I was fine, joyful and the bubbly life of the party when I was really crying myself to sleep several nights a week. I didn’t know how to let out my emotions or deal with them, so I hid them.

In the summer of 2017, I was invited to run a 5k with some friends. First, I internally revolted. I didn’t work out AT ALL. I was petrified of the pain, and I was afraid to fail. Surely, I wouldn’t even come close to measuring up to those who were going to run. But something made me say yes to signing up, and I started “training”. At first it was jogging a half mile, then the full mile with a few stops. Soon I ran a full mile without stopping. All summer I ran. I built up endurance, and a few weeks before the race, was able to run the full length of a 5k.

I ran my first 5k on August 31, 2017 and I haven’t run one since. But the lesson I learned from that 5k was an invaluable one. As I crossed the finish line that day at 32 minutes and 28 seconds, I realized that I was stronger than I thought I was. The only thing holding me back, was myself. With practice and patience, no hurdle was too big for me to conquer. That 5k gave me the motivation to fight my depression.

The days that I was running in the field behind my house, sweating and panting in the southern climate heat, something changed inside of me. As I was growing stronger physically, I was also growing stronger mentally. I felt lighter, happier and freer. I began to see that the battle I faced with my emotions needed to be let out, just like I let out my energy when I was running.

Playing sports also brought me life. Fighting to win something, letting it all out and giving 100% in the game was a physical representation of what I wanted to do in my depression. I loved competing in frisbee, football, volleyball and badminton. Later I got into basketball and lifting weights. All these things helped me to sweat out my depression

The physical, mental, emotional and spiritual components to a person are all connected. They work in perfect sync with one another, and each of the components need to be cared for equally. For me to be in a good mental place, I know I need to consistently work out my physical body.

A few years ago, I learned about the prayer workout (check out the prayer workout book here and DVD here!). This brought my mental health to a whole new level of freedom. In the workouts, offering my pain for others in my life suffering brought greater purpose to my life. Fighting through the prayer workouts taught me the importance of being others focused in life. When I focus on myself, I gave less and limited myself. When I forget about myself and don’t calculate, I am able to give more than I ever thought I had. Same with my depression. I can offer it for others and go further than I ever imagined possible.

The ability I have to work out is one of the greatest tools I possess to fight discouragement. Even if it’s not an intense workout, or if you can’t physically handle a lot, breathing or stretching can have the same result. God used working out to help heal my depression, and I know He will do the same for others. He made us physical creatures where the body mind and spirit work together to make up a healthy person. He wants the best for his kids and gives tools for every challenge. My tool for depression is working out. What’s the tool God is giving you?

Photo Credits:
"sihat" is marked with CC0 1.0
"bersenam" is marked with CC0 1.0
"2011 Swimsuit Classic 5K Race 043-5x7" by Paul-W is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
"Couples Workout Doing Beach Yoga" by Duncan Rawlinson - Duncan.co is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0



About the Author Mission TeamThe mission team is made up of writers within the HN team who serve for a time with our ministry to Awaken the World to the Power of God's Love. Through their efforts, their vision of making a world where no one suffers alone is an encouragement to many hurting people of all ages. 


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