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The 2 Words That Have Helped Me Fight Depression With Exercise

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Editor's Note

If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741741.

“No pain, no gain” are four words we’ve many of us have thought or said to maintain motivation. In the moment though, what kind of gain are we referring to? I mean, people gain things all the time… sometimes not even on purpose. Every time I gain a new friend, the process is actually quite joyful. There is no pain felt at all. Last month, I gained a new purse. In a few weeks, I will gain an extra hour of sleep. Am I the person I am today because of these? No. What is needed to achieve progress that has real value is pain. So, I will say it again: “No pain, no gain.”

My fitness instructor reinforces that belief very often through a couple of words of her own. Just when I think I can’t possibly do another squat thrust, she predictably shouts, “two more!” Those words have made me want to scream. Those words have made me want to cry. Those words have made me want to vomit. But, years later, the result of countless “two mores” has been an improvement to my mental health. That is a gain that means something.

So, what is your “two more?” A few years ago, mine was two more minutes without a negative thought. I didn’t wake up one day deciding that I was going to work out. I woke up one day deciding that enough was enough and it was time to fight depression. Before the two steps towards the studio, there were two more minutes of researching regimens. And before that research, there were two more affirmations purposely selected to remind myself that I deserve to be a happy person.

It is time to start your journey that begins with “two more.” Maybe that means two more steps away from your bed and towards the front door. Maybe that means two more minutes on the treadmill. Whatever it may be, waiting for you is the value-added gain that you deserve. You are a treasure.

Originally published: February 26, 2021
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