Owning My Story

If you have browsed my blog then you know I post a lot about how exercise benefits mental health and how it can really help with anxiety and depression. Well, a couple of years ago I wanted to share my story and how fitness, along with self acceptance, changed my life, so I wrote a book.

I was quite proud, and the feedback I received from sharing it with a few close friends and family members was terrific but….I just could not bring myself to publish it and make it public. While yes, I have overcome debilitating anxiety and panic attacks, I still had a fear of judgement and ridicule. Is it really that good though? Maybe what worked for me wont work for others? What if, what about, and so on….

Then, just recently I had someone approach me at the gym about how an Instagram post I made regarding my struggles with anxiety really spoke to them. I was touched and decided to share my book with this person. I anxiously awaited his feedback and after a few days received an email that had me completely dumbfounded. Is he talking to me? Is what he is saying seriously about my book? Have I truly made an impact on this mans life with a short story about my personal struggles?

Well, after a few more emails back and forth, it was proven that yes, he was indeed talking to me, about me. Here is a small snippet of his review of my book;

“I want to thank you soooo much for allowing me to read this. I have read it over and over and it is just so damn brave of you to write this. I read it and had tears in my eyes at points as it really hit home. I am just so happy that I approached you (which was very hard haha) as what you have provided me with is a blueprint for success. What you have written should be shared in schools and at conferences as I know there are so many individuals that would benefit.”

*MIND BLOWN*

 

I used to wonder if sharing my story would even make a difference and well, it appears it has, so……I have decided to push aside my fears and finally share its existence. I actually published it on Amazon Kindle a couple of months ago but have done nothing in regards to promoting or sharing it. So, before I chicken out, again, here is the link to where my book can be purchased;

Accepting Anxiety

If you happen to read it, I would love to hear your thoughts. While leaving a review on Amazon would be helpful and greatly appreciated, directly messaging me would also be fantastic as I would love to hear your feedback (positive or constructive)

If you are a minor and do not have access to purchasing from Amazon please let me know and I will share with you a PDF copy.

xo Erin

 

 

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Yours Truly in Status Fitness Magazine!

I have to say I was pretty excited for this article as it allowed me to share my personal story and how fitness has changed my life! Click here to read the entire article 🙂

HealthyVisionPhotography_Status_ErinKelly-2

Positive Motivation for Fitness

Whether it’s getting started on a new program or sticking with your current one, motivation can come and go and for some, just down right not exist when it comes to fitness. I’m human, I definitely have my days where working out is the last thing I feel like doing, heck, I’ve even hit a few slumps where I wont work out for a week straight. I can tell you though, when that happens, after a few days I start to feel awful, and that there is part of my motivation to get my butt back in gear!

Getting motivated to make fitness a regular part of your life needs to be a positive experience. Your drive needs to come from within, and it needs to be about YOU and what regular exercise can do for YOU. My main focus for fitness is not just about looks, sure, I enjoy the benefits fitness has on my physical appearance but how it makes me feel about myself, how it improves my mental health, is my driving force.

Lets list a few negative reinforcements that you want to try and avoid. Although some may seem to make sense for helping to motivate, in reality, any type of negative thinking is going to have a negative effect. These can include unnecessary stress and low self esteem. In the second list you can see how we take some of these negative motivators and put a positive spin on them so that they work in your favor to boost self esteem and keep you on the right track.

NEGATIVE MOTIVATORS

Negative self talk (spoken or not) is the number one issue and this only leads to low self esteem, stress and in many cases, quitting or giving up on reaching your fitness goal. Negative self talk can include the following;

  •  Viewing the negative outcome of a situation (was too difficult, you didn’t complete as many reps as planned etc)
  •  Focusing on what you could have done better
  •  Comparing yourself to others
  •  Fixating on your current state of health/fitness
  •  Telling yourself you aren’t capable, worthy or good enough

POSITIVE MOTIVATORS

If talking to yourself in a positive way is not something you currently practice than repeating positive phrases to yourself may feel strange but like any other habit, it just takes a short time before it becomes natural. Now lets have a look at some positive reinforcements;

  • Reminding yourself of your accomplishments
  • Focusing on the progress you have made
  • Celebrating milestones and goals achieved
  • Telling yourself you are worthy and deserving of a healthy body and mind

Making the switch from negative to positive self talk can and will have a huge impact on your health and mental well-being. Self esteem rises, stress is reduced and overall, you feel and look healthier & happier. Perhaps you aren’t even aware of your negative self talk, perhaps you think beating yourself up will help motivate you, either way, it’s got to stop!

How to go from Negative to Positive Motivation

  • Set realistic goals. (Write them down and look at them often)
  • List the things you are grateful for.
  • Surround yourself with positive, supportive and encouraging people.
  • Talk to yourself as though you have already accomplished your goals. (I look great, I feel great, I’m gonna rock my new bikini this summer etc)
  • Place positive notes or quotes around your home so that you are constantly bombarded with positivity!
  • Create a vision board and hang it somewhere you will see it everyday. (A collage of inspiring and motivating pictures, quotes, goals etc)

These don’t have to be all fitness and health related, they just need to be positive! Over time thinking positively will become natural and the negative self talk will phase its way out of your life, where it belongs!

Change your thoughts and you change your world.” – Norman Vincent Peale

xo

 

 

 

Fitness for Mental Clarity

Stress gets to all of us at one point or another and although some of us may handle it better than others, taking time out to clear your mind and focus on the now can be extremely beneficial in your overall mental health. Daily exercise is great for both your body and mind and can really help you to achieve some mental clarity, both immediately and long term.

During exercise blood flow to the brain is increased, delivering more oxygen, elevating serotonin and boosting energy levels, all leading to improved mental clarity. Exercise produces a relaxation response in the brain relieving stress, anxiety and depression. It boosts your mood and leaves you less irritable, more energized and feeling ready to take on whatever comes your way.

Be it yoga or weightlifting, at home, outside or in the gym,  finding the type of exercise most enjoyable to you and a comfortable location is the most important step.  Forcing yourself through a routine of any type isn’t going to help if you don’t enjoy it! I personally like to switch things up as often as possible to keep things fresh and exciting. Running up and down the bleachers at the dog park with my pup on a sunny day leaves me feeling refreshed and energized. On not so nice days staying home and working out to my favorite music turned up loud pushes me to keep going as I enjoy my favorite songs. Either way, after any workout I can definitely say my day gets a more positive start!

xo

 

 

Fitness for Mental Health

brain jump rope2As someone who has suffered from anxiety, panic attacks and depression for 15+ years, this topic is an important one for me and one of my main reason for becoming a personal trainer & health coach.

Fitness has changed my life.

…and I’m not just talking about my appearance or my strength, I’m talking about how fitness has brought me from an anxious, depressed state to a positive, confident and more outgoing person. Of course, it didn’t happen over night but I can honestly tell you it didn’t take long for the mental health benefits of exercise to kick in either!

Anxiety was a daily thing for me, going out anywhere had me riddled with fear yet I had not had a panic attack for nearly 10 years. That was until Christmas 2013. I’m not sure if it was the stress of the Holidays, the fact I was hosting this year or the sad reality that it would be the first year without my dear Grandparents, or all of the above, but my anxiety was kicked up a notch and it quickly turned into insomnia and full out panic attacks.

Within a few days I felt like I was losing my mind, which is common when you haven’t slept more than 3 hours in 4 days and are experiencing non stop anxiety, and I knew I had to make a drastic change quick as I was spiraling into a deep depression, something I just cannot have being a single mom of two kids. So, I decided that the next time I woke up at 3 am to a panic attack I would work out as a distraction. It started with the basics; pushups, squats, crunches etc…within a few minutes my anxiety eased off and my concentration was on my form and breathing. It was a temporary solution at first which worked in the moment.

Fast forward 1 year…

I have never felt better in my life. With daily exercise and proper nutrition I haven’t had a panic attack and rarely feel anxious (first dates will have you anxious no matter what 😉 ) in just over a year! Depression is a thing of the past and my self confidence has definitely risen.

This isn’t just for me. This can work for you too, if anxiety, depression or even low self esteem has got you down, and here is why:

Exercise has been proven to help boost the release of endorphins which make us happy and put us in a better mood. During exercise the increase of neutrophils and monoamines, (neutrophils are white blood cells that assist the immune system and monoamines are neurotransmitters) work to reduce the symptoms associated with depression.

Exercise can help to reduce and even eliminate anxiety by reducing the sensitivity to the fight or flight response which induces fear in those who have heightened sensitivity. Because having anxiety usually leads to panic disorder, or vice-versa, it can help to reduce panic attacks as well.

Another great benefit of regular exercise is that it can help to improve sleep which in return can help reduce insomnia, anxiety and depression.

Starting can be hardest part for someone with anxiety or depression but once you get going and start feeling the amazing benefits regular exercise has on your mental health you wont ever want to stop!

Now go do some jumping jacks and get happy 😀

xo