Optimizing lifting and mental health Part 2
Last week we defined therapy and counseling and then catharsis. So let’s continue...
Catharsis is defined as the “process of releasing and relieving the individual from strong repressed emotions”. However, let’s be clear; with that they may not be repressed emotions, but bubbling at the surface or just risen due to the incident.
On the contrary, one may argue the following: He or she gets into an argument with their significant other right before they leave for the gym, and it is not resolved. However when they come home their passions and feelings of being misheard or misunderstood have subsided and they are better able to address the issue in this state of mind. Agreed; lifting has helped in the process of removing the feelings from the incident, but it does not fit our definition of therapy, as the issue was not resolved. It’s still catharsis in the end. That’s not to say it’s bad or it's not right. Catharsis in and of itself can be very therapeutic when used by counselors and therapists to alleviate repressed or guarded emotions.
However, now that we have defined what really is going on and corrected the definition of “therapy” and realized it aligns more heavily with “catharsis”.
Let’s examine what else is going on during and after exercise.
What else is being reported by people through their exercise? What the literature is telling us is that exercise (specifically, running because it’s the only mode that being tested as of late) reduces the symptomatology of many clinical disorders, not limited to: anxiety, depression, panic attacks, ADHD, PTSD, addiction, Alzheimer's, to a universal issues like stress and aging. Based on this information, the question about exercise then becomes: the side effects and benefits are more synonymous with what?
Medication is prescribed to alter our state of mind and to correct our brain chemistry for our moods and thought processes. All of the aforementioned diagnoses have been researched and been reported that exercise does very similar things without any side effects like those from medications can have. Does that mean that medication is bad, absolutely not! Individuals who are prescribed medications, who truly have deep mental health issues and who truly want optimize their mental health do so with a greater speed and longevity when they combine medication with exercise and true psychotherapy or counseling. So now that we are viewing exercise and medication and mental health through this clear lens, or corrective lens, what else can we do to optimize our mental health given these new definitions; how can we best help ourselves run optimal?
But you’re moving your life toward optimization, which means medication isn’t necessarily the answer. Not to mention the fact that you’re strong, you’re conditioning, way more than the average person, and that mean’s you're committed to change and betterment, which means medication would be just a crutch, like having to scale to box squats, only your doctor won’t ever take the box away, but raise it up and up. Fuck that! You’re committed to excellence and optimization. SO what’s the next step?
Well, we’ve put together our first e-book on developing techniques to optimize your gym time and mental health.
Citations are in italics:
- Ratey, J. J., & Hagerman, E. (2008). Spark: The revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain. New York: Little, Brown.