Suicide. Thanks to the recent offings of famous people, the news has been chock full of self-inflicted death (see FLASHBACK: Anthony Bourdain on Middle America and No, Suicide Isn’t the Answer). Followed by a lot of people trying to find the magic bullet (no pun intended) to cure depression. Instead of more medication — which may not be helping as much as some have thought — the answer could be something a simpler. Like lifting weights. Or exercise in general. At least according to this recent study:
Reclaiming what is inherently ours makes us feel good about ourselves. A lifting of depression has been observed in running, yoga, meditation, even walking through forests. Now we can add weightlifting to this list.
The research paper, led by graduate student Brett Gordon at Ireland’s University of Limerick, notes that 300 million people suffer from depression worldwide, costing the global economy $118 billion. Medication, the authors continue, can be expensive and efficacy is questionable, while psychotherapy is sometimes inaccessible as well as costly. A gym membership might not be the end-all, but it is certainly less expensive and undoubtedly healthier.
Everyone shares a lot of well-meaning advice on social media about how to combat depression. My advice is to shut off social media and get out of the house. Get some fresh air. Spend the $20 a month on gym membership. It’s where I start every day. Alternating between lifting weights on some days, and working off my frustration with politics on a heavy bag on others. On days I don’t make it, I can feel a change in my overall attitude.
Life can suck. Life can be hard. Everyone is dealing with something, and some are struggling more than others. If that’s you, if you don’t know what to do, or how to change things, start with a walk. Get outside. Go to someplace beautiful and just be out in it. Unplug from your devices and see if you can just listen to nothing.
Then pick up something heavy repeatedly. It’ll help.