“Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be transferred or changed from one form to another.” -Albert Freaking Einstein
According to Einstein himself, our pain cannot be numbed away with drugs and alcohol, scrolling, attention from strangers on the internet, sex, porn, or food. We cannot destroy our pain, we cannot make it go away by distracting ourselves, but we can take that energy and transform it into something new.
I love being physical for this reason. Every time my heart is broken, I get into amazing shape because I can always rely on the power of movement to flood me with endorphins, and turn all that sad ass energy into something new.
Plus, you’ll boost you’re confidence seeing the improvement in your performance, challenging yourself, and looking fine as well.
You don’t have to go to a gym or hire a personal trainer. Youtube alone has an epic library of workout videos if you need guidance. The world is your gym if you learn to do bodyweight exercises and enjoy walking, hiking, etc. You can spend next to nothing on getting in shape. Personally, dancing, running, surfing, bodyweight exercises, yoga, sprinting, hiking have all been modes where I can use the energy of my pain and create something new, and something that feels better.
Let Yourself Wallow, Though
Of course, it’s ok, and preferable to initially wallow and ball your eyes out. Get it out of your system, have your purge. Tears actually release cortisol, which is our stress hormone. So, having a good cry not only reduces stress, but it offers a sense of relief and mood enhancement in the aftermath. It’s good to reflect, to talk it out with your friends, journal, figure out what you’ve learned, figure out what opportunities have opened up because of this pain. It’s ok to be sad, to be angry. Spend some time alone. Maybe write a letter you don’t send.
Pain always teaches us. It teaches us about ourselves, and patterns we repeat in relationships, life choices. If we let it, pain teaches us to look inward and take responsibility for our lives. What red flags do we ignore? What unhealthy characteristics are we attracted to? Are we attracted to emotionally unavailable people, or are we emotionally unavailable ourselves? Do we self sabotage and push people away? Do we run from love because we are scared?
They say the antidote to depression is action. Even if it’s getting up to make breakfast, do the dishes, or go for a walk. You might not go from zero to ecstatic, but if you’re feeling a mean case of the blahs, and are experience negative thought loops, thinking positively is one way to go about, but often, thinking too much is the root of problem itself.
Action is a Vacation from Living in Our Heads
Moving our bodies, and taking some action, is usually a quicker route to resetting our brains, and starting fresh. It gives us something else to focus our energy on, it gives us a flood of feel good chemicals, and boosts our self esteem because we realize we can do hard shit and thus start to feel more confident and capable in our own skin.
Get. Out. Of. Your. Head. For the love of god please stop thinking for a while and do something. Move it or lose your shit.
If you’re an overthinker, an over-analyzer, a worrier, and anxiety prone, don’t feel bad. Your survival instincts work, congratulations. The concept of neuroplasticity, however, means we can re-wire our brains. We can form new habits, new thought patterns, new perspectives, and new neuro pathways permanently.
Action is a surefire tool to reset your brain so it doesn’t spin out of control in negative thought loops. The best thing you can do when you are spinning in circles thinking about something that makes you feel like garbage? Something else! Do something else! Move! Get up and go right now, or after you finish this blog post.
Cut the Bullshit and Stop Getting in Your Own Way
I don’t have time to exercise. I don’t have money to go to the gym. I don’t like working out.
No. Just no. You’re excuses are no good here, and they’re not doing you any good either. Download a screen time app that reports your average daily time spent on your phone. There’s your workout time. What errands can you cut from your to-do list? What frenemy is getting more than their share of your free time? How about watching less Netflix in the evenings, waking up an hour earlier, and getting your ass moving before then?
So many people dread exercise because a majority of people don’t know how to have fun with it and think that if they’re not working with a personal trainer and getting a six pack in three weeks, it’s pointless. How daunting! If you hate running, don’t run! It’s that easy. You can take a dance class, do sprints in a park, hike, learn aerial silks, strip aerobics, climbing, swimming, rollerblading, skateboarding, naked yoga, mountain biking, climbing, snowshoeing, skiing, synchronized swimming, the list is endless. If you do something fun that you enjoy, you will stick with it and look forward to it and it will become a habit. The results will follow with time and consistency.
Take six packs or looking like a swimsuit model out of the equation. The images we see of these ideal bodies are not only photoshopped, but they also represent a fleeting moment in time for even these real life athletes, who go to extreme measures like dehydration for a photoshoot. Then, factor in posing, lighting, and editing. Keep it realistic. Shoot for improvement over perfection.
Most people exercise to lose weight or look better. That’s all fine and dandy, but if you give up because you don’t see physical change quick enough, you may never stick with it long enough to see significant change. It’d be nice to lose ten pounds, sure, but isn’t feeling better, regulating your hormones, sleeping better, improving your mood, sex drive, reducing stress, increasing life expectancy, and improving your skin good, too?
How about the fact that movement can help heal us, can help get us out of our own heads, and turn our pain into something tangible and better? I think that’s a pretty good benefit, too.
I became addicted to exercise when I realized how much if effected my mood. I am more quick to laugh, more resilient, less stressed, and have noticeably more energy and focus. For the sake of greeting the world with a much more pleasant version of myself, I try to move early in the day to ride the mood boosting benefits all day, and free up my evenings to relax.
You will never think yourself out of a problem. Solutions don’t come from sitting on the couch ruminating over what went wrong. Solutions come when we are busy doing and focusing on something else.
Your pain or heart ache isn’t going to go away just because you can distract yourself with social media, porn, food, or TV. You’re not using any energy for those things– it’s autopilot robot stuff, and it’s a distraction.
To transform and move through your pain, you feel it first, and then you turn it into something else.
How to move your way out of a funk:
- Dance while you get ready or do chores. Blast the Lizzo or Robyn as you wash your dishes or put on your makeup.
- Set a reminder on your phone to MOVE IT OR LOSE YOUR SHIT
- Make it a habit to go for a walk before or after work every day to get your blood flowing and clear your head
- Jump up and down for ten minutes
- Sign up for a new class or learn a new sport
- Weed your garden
- Make chores fun! Find a new podcast you love, blast Lana Del Rey’s new album, ask your friends for their latest playlists and clean your space. You will not only feel good from moving, but who doesn’t love a freshly cleaned house?
- Make it a priority to move in nature once a week. You can go to a public park or a national park, I don’t care. Get out in nature, feel the sun or rain on your sweet cheeks and bask in the magnitude of this universe. It’s always good to gain a little perspective. Plus, it’s scientifically proven that time spent in nature makes us happier and less stressed.
- GET CREATIVE- write, paint, decorate, bake, bust out your guitar, dance, garden, knit. This is one of those times where your creativity can save your soul. If you’re injured or sick, you can still take action without getting all sweaty and overdoing it. Do not squander your creative drive, that is your magic, your heart and soul, and it will heal you from the inside out.
Remember, no one ever solved a problem from overthinking. Ruminating in your pain won’t make it go away. Feel the feels, and when you can’t stand it anymore, or when your suffering becomes a regular and unwelcome visitor, remember you can always move, take action and transform your energy. The choice is always yours.