What’s the definition of vanity you ask? Welp, it’s got two definitions and it’s a noun. Definition one: excessive pride or admiration of one’s own appearance or accomplishments. Definition two: the quality of being worthless or futile. #SanityNotVanity
Seems a bit harsh doesn’t it? I’m sure each of us have had moments of vanity, but our identities are not dependent on such vanity. Our identities are rooted in something deeper than our appearances and our accomplishments, I will venture to say it is in the way we love others. And yes, you can’t love others unless you love yourself. It’s that same concept of you can’t give someone water if you don’t have it yourself. Sometimes someone’s motivation in doing something begins in a place of vanity but then comes to help others in a bigger way.
As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety for my entire life it wasn’t until reading Kevin Hines’ book, Cracked Not Broken, that I realized from an early age exercise became an outlet for me. It sometimes bordered an unhealthy balance, but in adulthood I’ve thankfully shifted that balance back to health. It hit me like a ton of bricks when Hines’ states that to keep himself healthy, exercise must be a part of his daily routine. I happened to be going through a lot of change, which like most humans, terrifies me. I realized in that moment to make Holly healthy again I need to bust out a paper planner and start scheduling my life better to make it to the gym. Physical activity=sanity.
To pause for a moment, if you don’t know Kevin’s story it is a powerful one. He is one of thirty four to survive jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. His book, and life are devoted to raising awareness to mental health, in hopes of getting others the help they need, and to allow those left in the wake of suicide to have understanding into the mind of someone with a mental illness.
According to Berchicci, Lucci, and Di Russo (2013) consistent physical activity helps older adults increase their response times in day to day life decision making. VanKim, and Nelson did a study in 2013 of college students who participated in regular, vigorous exercise and those who did not. It was found that those who met the requirements for vigorous activity reported lower rates of perceived poor mental health, and stress. Saxena, Van Ommeren, Tang and Armstrong (2005) report that medical doctors consistently under prescribe physical activity for its mental health benefits.
I could go on with the research, but I will stop myself. Moral of the story: physical activity has MASSIVE mental health benefits and it’s a bonus that it helps your physical body. Stay tuned for more blogs to come. Keep after your sanity with physical activity, My most successful clients have sought physical activity for their emotional and mental well being, and were pleasantly surprised when their physical bodies transformed.
Berchicci, M., Lucci, G., & Di Russo, F. (2013). Benefits of physical exercise on the aging brain: The role of the prefrontal cortex. The Journals Of Gerontology: Series A: Biological Sciences And Medical Sciences, 68A(11), 1337-1341. doi:10.1093/gerona/glt094
Saxena, S., Van Ommeren, M., Tang, K. C., & Armstrong, T. P. (2005). Mental health benefits of physical activity. Journal Of Mental Health, 14(5), 445-451. doi:10.1080/09638230500270776
VanKim, N. A., & Nelson, T. F. (2013). Vigorous physical activity, mental health, perceived stress, and socializing among college students. American Journal Of Health Promotion, 28(1), 7-15. doi:10.4278/ajhp.111101-QUAN-395