After life knocked me down a few different ways in a row, I was feeling pretty down in the dumps. I knew that I probably should have seen a therapist, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Finally, at my annual physical, my doctor noticed the change in my mood. After I told him what had happened the previous year and how it made me feel, I was sure he was going to tell me to see a therapist. He didn’t.
“Go take a long walk,” he said. “And then tomorrow, take another one.” He explained to me that a lot of our emotional health is tied to how we treat ourselves physically. He was very clear to point out that diet and exercise alone do not instantly cure depression, but by living a healthy lifestyle, we give our bodies the best chance to be successful. He didn’t think my depression was too serious but he did schedule a follow up appointment with me in a few months. In the meantime, he wanted me to sweat a little.
That first day’s walk felt okay, nothing great, but the second day’s felt a little better. Soon I began looking forward to them, and found myself making sure I had time to take at least an hour’s walk every day. Not only was the physical exercise helping my body feel better, it was also helping me clear my mind.
My follow up appointment lasted thirty seconds. He took one look at me, saw my smile and knew I was okay. He made me promise I’d make an appointment if I felt the depression coming back, and I will, but now, I just feel so damn good.