Mental Health: You Need More Than the Gym.

( The gym is a great place to work off steam. Many people deal with varying degrees of stress on a regular basis. Exercise is a known method to positively release said stress. Every person you see working out is not doing so for the love of fitness, nor because they need to lose weight. Some are trying to release the endorphins that will allow them to feel much better emotionally, and mentally when life is handing them storms. There are people working out to release anger in a positive way. They are upset whether the reason is known or not, and it’s better to hit the treadmill or weights than to commit assault. The gym is definitely a way to assist one in working through mental and emotional issues, but sometimes it isn’t enough.

For all of the awesome qualities of exercise there are times when it can’t be the sole method of dealing with various kinds of mental health challenges. If one isn’t careful the gym that they see as a place of solace and refuge, can quickly become a space they are no longer able to navigate. Those it seems like society is starting to understand the benefits of seeking treatment for mental health it can be very hard to accept for many that are dealing with it. For instance mental health treatment is still not fully accepted within the black community. Black people already fight various stereotypes in this country, and the idea that they are crazy…or family will feel them such is a deterrent to getting much needed treatment. So, in an effort to be seen as normal some will try to self treat in various ways.

In this mindset there are those that will remember that exercise is great for the body, but it can relieve stress, release those endorphins we spoke of, and even clear the mind. Granted the previous statement had been found to be true, but it can only go so far. PTSD, bipolar disorder, severe depression, anxiety and many other conditions need more than a routine workout. If a person with these challenges isn’t careful they could find themselves triggered, having sever crying spells, emotional outburst, and even violent episodes at the gym. This will sink that person further into a negative space, risk legal action, and could hurt someone else just trying to workout. These things can happen without notice, and the person experiencing such may very well be unable to control the situation.

Exercise can be a positive part of one’s self care. However, if you are facing mental challenges please ale the time to get the medical help you need. You don’t want a place you love to be attached to your challenges in a way by which you are no longer able to enter that space, that can have a positive impact on you, because not legal boundaries nor because the gym is now a trigger. It’s important to protect yourself, others, and your positive spaces. The gym can solve many different issues but when it comes to mental health…it can’t be the primary source of treatment.

Staff Writer; Christian Starr

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