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Excerpt Ageless Athletic Assassin: Page 190
MENTAL HEALTH THRU FITNESS
What is mental health? Mental health includes your emotional, psychological, and social well-being that affects how you think, feel, and act. Greek Philosopher Plato said it best, “In order for man to SUCCEED in life, God provided him with two means, EDUCATION and PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. One for the soul and the other for the body. With these two means, man can attain PERFECTION.”
Exercise is the ultimate medicine as a defense against mood swings, Alzheimer’s, and ADHD. Exercise allows you to find your “eternal elixir of youth” to enjoy life happily and healthily with your kids, family, and friends.
Unfortunately, 1 in 10 adults in the United States struggles with depression - experiencing disrupted sleep, loss of appetite, forgetfulness, and suicidal thoughts as experienced by recent celebrity suicides by designer Kate Spade (hung herself with a scarf refusing to divorce her husband), foodie Anthony Bourdain (hung himself after seeing pictures of his girlfriend Asia Argento with another man), DJ Avicii (cut himself with broken glass being depressed from pancreatitis where his gallbladder and appendix were removed due to excessive drinking), politician R. Budd Dwyer (shot himself in the mouth live in front of television cameras after being found guilty of bribery charges), CEO Colin Kroll (overdosed on heroin and cocaine after breaking up from a wedding engagement), hedge fund executive Charles Murphy (jumped from 20 stories high after losing $7 billion of client’s money in Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme), Mac Miller (overdosed after breakup with singer Ariana Grande), and actor Robin Williams.
Mental health issues may arise in all phases of your life: personally if you’re going thru a divorce, breakup, or a death in the family, professionally if you’ve been declined a promotion or suffered huge financial losses, academically if you performed below expectations or got bullied by your classmates, and athletically if you got cut from your team or lost a game.
Tragically in 2018, longtime Hillsborough County Florida deputy sheriff Chad Chronister murdered his 54-year-old wife, 32-year-old daughter, and 6-year-old granddaughter before shooting himself in front of local authorities near his granddaughter’s school. Before committing suicide, he had called the local police station saying he was experiencing “financial and health” problems so wanted to kill himself. If you or someone is struggling with depression, call your National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to get help. There is no need to kill innocent people.
In the same year in Tennessee, Cynthia Collier murdered her four adopted Chinese home-schooled children - shooting 14-year-old Bo Li 4 times while in bed, 14-year-old Meigan Lin 8 times while in bed, 15-year-old Lia Lin 9 times while in bed, and 17-year-old Kaileigh Lin 13 times in the bathroom before Cynthia shot herself in the head. Cynthia did not want her separated husband to win legal parenting time with her four adopted Chinese children who he’s abandoned for the past nine years. In order to keep her four adopted children from her husband, Cynthia decided to stay together with her four children in heaven by murdering everyone. Please seek help instead of resorting to murder in parental disputes.
In 2018, the World Health Organization classified “gaming disorder” as a mental health condition, stating that problematic gaming behavior might cause problems in other areas of your life. There is a strong connection between videogames and violence especially in the wake of shootings at schools and public places throughout the United States. Many gamers are suffering a problem called “Hikikomori” which is the complete social withdrawal from real life into a virtual life. Gamers miss out on the beauty of nature, loving relationships and satisfaction of contributing to a better world, all for a fake life.
Barriers exist for mental illness treatment where an astonishing 60% of American adults and 50% of children ages 8–15, receive no treatment for their mental illness diagnoses. Treatments like mental health medications and psychotherapy are available but people face a stigma going thru therapy and are afraid of side effects from medication.
Fortunately as Plato mentioned, instead of pills, there is an all-natural treatment called exercise. Depression manifests physically by causing low energy, appetite changes, and body aches.
A Duke University study found that those who exercised at a moderate level 40 minutes three to five times each week experienced the greatest antidepressant effect. Exercise not only increases blood flow to the brain, it releases endorphins - the body's very own natural antidepressant and releases other neurotransmitters like serotonin which lift mood.
Anyone who has raced, competed, fought, or lifted knows first-hand the immediate sense of endorphin-induced euphoria where you feel upbeat and clear-headed. Other important exercise benefits include enhanced mood and energy, reduced stress, deeper relaxation, improved mental clarity, higher self-esteem, and increased spiritual connection. In addition to exercise when you’re fighting a negative mindset, seek the social support of family and friends instead of drugs, alcohol, and overeating to improve mental health.