What Exercise Can Teach Us About Our Emotions
We’ve all made them. New Year’s Resolutions. We’ve over-indulged through another holiday season and we’ve made the commitment to begin working out after the New Year.
We begin the process of getting ourselves up early in the morning so we can head to the gym. Each step, each day, an act of will. The first few weeks are horrific. Muscles that haven’t been exercised in years are throbbing from use. We are told to lean into the pain. “No pain, no gain” – right?
For those who make it past those first few weeks, things begin to change. The muscles that had initially ached now feel taut and lean. We can feel ourselves growing stronger. We feel good.
Here is an excerpt from my new book, Peace For a Lifetime, where I describe the important truths exercise can teach us about our emotions. Physical exercise is necessary for our overall health, for us to grow. Yet if we spend our lives running away from the discomfort associated with exercise, we will never grow solid and strong. We will never know what physical health feels like.
The same is true for our emotional health. We will never experience the emotional health or abundance God desires for us if we spend our lives running from any painful or uncomfortable emotions. We will find freedom, fullness, and peace as we learn how to lean into and develop a new relationship with our emotions.
Growing is a double-edged sword. The results are generally positive, but the process never occurs without some amount of struggle, effort, and pain. A few years back, I decided the time had come for me to start exercising.
As I began to near my thirties and the realities of an aging metabolism set in, I decided that perhaps now was the time to dust off my 1980s aerobics gear and head to the gym. That my best friend was a body builder and trainer, not to mention that another sweet friend, Sheila, offered to train with me, I felt was divine providence. This is like a two-fer, I thought. This was perfect.
Neither Sheila nor I were fitness types. We probably had fairly similar body types and athletic skills. Nevertheless, we both showed up the first day eager to become lean and trim. We didn’t know what awaited us.
To say our trainer took her job seriously might have been an understatement. She kept yelling, “One more set, one more set!” I have never been a quitter, and so I tried my best to push through the pain in order to finish well. By the end of our first day, Sheila and I were both exhausted. I drove home feeling sore, but exhilarated. Once I arrived home, however, things began to change. Little by little, I noticed my soreness increased. By the next day, I could no longer walk up the stairs; I could only crawl. Sitting down and standing up became monumental and excruciating tasks. There were moments I thought the pain might never end.
Over time, the pain did subside. As my muscles toned, I felt stronger, more capable. I could walk farther and faster on the treadmill. Steadily I was increasing my weights and adding repetitions. I was feeling good. My physical body was growing, and the results were worth the struggle.
I distinctly remember hearing my trainer encourage me to “lean into the pain.” She would push me harder than I thought I was capable of going, not to run away from the exercise, but to press forward. What is the saying? “No pain, no gain?”
The same is true for our emotional growth as we work to cultivate peace with God. If we can lean into our emotions instead of becoming numb to them or distracting ourselves from them, we grow. If we can reason through our emotions, understand our emotions, and effectively manage our emotions, the more Emotional Abundance (EA) we build into our lives.
It is never too late to begin cultivating a new relationship with your emotions. You don’t have to keep running from difficult emotions. You can lean into your emotions and use them to gain insight, wisdom, and strength on your journey.
In my new book, Peace for a Lifetime, I’ve included more information about the importance of establishing a new relationship with your emotions. I’ve packed it with basic, easy-to-understand life steps that will yield abundance and peace in your life and relationships. This material can help you create and experience an indestructible peace – not just for today, not just for tomorrow, you can experience peace…for a lifetime!
To learn more about the book, click HERE!
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