Did you know that exercise is a mood changer? Not a fad, not a trick, but an honest-to-gods way to improve a foul humor that doesn’t rely on drugs – in fact, it might just be what the drugs are trying (and failing) to mimic.
This morning I was going to call Bobbie and ask to not have company; I wasn’t late, but I also wasn’t fit to be around people. Not even an hour’s sleep, and a month and a half in to the two-year work commitment I am missing my freedom more and more each day. I want a schedule that doesn’t require broken sleep to complete a photography project. I want to be able to keep up with my writing and journal creation and other income streams that are developing slowly (or not at all!) because ten hours a day are devoted to a job outside my own interests. And I don’t want to have to deal with the vagaries and whims of people who subconsciously feel a lack of purpose in their own life and so create drama in every situation they can in order to get an emotional ‘fix’ that alleviates the dull pain of mere existence – as opposed to living fully in pursuit of their own defined ideal. I was so focused on all the things I was missing at the beginning of the walk I just wanted to get the pictures, get back home, and go to bed.
Thing is, by the time I’d reached the first hill on the walk, I wasn’t really upset anymore. By the time I was on the eastern overlook and had the camera ready, I was enjoying the morning for its own sake. I noticed the clouds and the dramatic formations. I got to see a little bit of color in the morning, waaaaaay off in the distance down the road to Lake City. And instead of dwelling on everything that’s currently wrong with the way my life is arranged, I was thinking and coming up with avenues to change it – some more practical than others!
Found out through research that there is actual and supportable evidence (oft-overlooked by our medical and psychological professionals) of the benefits of walking as a mood changer. People who exercise, even if it’s just a moderate amount each day, have been able to cope better with depression and anxiety and not been as susceptible to stress. And reduced stress has also been linked with increased creativity as well as better health.