This month, the folks at Greatist asked their ambassadors to share how they find happiness in their health and fitness routine. I wrote up a post that was featured on Fitblogger (!!!), but I wanted to share it here as well for all you lovely readers:
Happiness. It’s something we all desire and something we should all strive for. It’s also something that is different for every single person.
For me, happiness comes from a number of things. First and foremost, I find happiness in the people I surround myself with. My family, my friends, and my boyfriend – everyone that supports me, everyone who allows me to give love and who gives it back to me – that makes me happy. Oh, and puppies. Puppies make me very happy.
I find happiness in my surroundings. New York City can be hectic, but every now and then, I get outside, wander around, and find calm in the chaos. There are so many amazing buildings and beautiful brick-covered streets. I’m always amazed at the way you can go from crazy city block to quiet park in a matter of steps. I am so fortunate to live in and experience such an amazing place.
Over the past two years, happiness has come to me in a new form: fitness and healthy foods!
It’s no secret that regular exercise helps boost mood. Exercise helps decrease cortisol levels (a hormone that wrecks havoc on your body and increases when you are stressed/frustrated/anxious). At the same time, working out releases endorphins that create feelings of elation. The scientific evidence behind why exercise makes you happy goes on and on, but beyond all the chemicals and hormones and scientific stuff, this is how I find happiness through fitness:
- Exercise gives me so much more energy – more energy to take on the day, more energy to smile, and more energy to do other things that make me happy. Now that I workout on a regular basis I find that if I ever skip a workout, I lag. I feel lethargic and exhausted. My body now craves a workout. It craves happiness!
- A good morning workout sesh makes me feel empowered. I feel like I’ve accomplished so much before 8am and I feel proud that I’ve done something good for myself.
- When I push myself further than the previous day’s workout, I feel strong. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone and accomplishing something new is so rewarding, whether it’s completing Insanity, doing a headstand, or even just pulling off one extra push up.
- When I’m working out, I’m not thinking about anything else. Any worries or stress melt away as I focus on the next move or breath. My workout is my me-time, and though it may not seem like it through all huffing and puffing, the red face, and the buckets of sweat pouring off my body, working out (for me) is cathartic and relaxing.
I’ve also found happiness in cooking. Since beginning my healthy journey, I have discovered so many incredible ingredients and ways to cook that I’ll never be able to go back to some of my old staples.
- I love finding healthy alternatives to my favorite not-so-healthy foods. I get a little rush when a healthy alternative ends up being delicious (black bean brownies, anyone?).
- It makes me happy to share healthy recipes with friends and family. If I find something delicious, I immediately want to share the love and let everyone in on my new-found secret. Sharing is caring!
- Simply knowing that I’m putting good things into my body makes me (and my tummy) happy. Just like working out, knowing that I did something good for myself gives me a sense of accomplishment.
- Cooking is also a great time for me to unwind. I get so focused on the chopping, stirring, and the whole process of turning separate elements into one delicious creation that all other thoughts go out the window. Plus, I cook with a lot of colorful veggies, and if color doesn’t make you happy, I don’t know what will!
I also find an incredible amount of joy in all of the health and fitness communities I am part of (special shout outs to Greatist, Fit Approach, and Girls Gone Sporty). I love all the people, resources, and blogs I have come across, and it makes me so happy to share and receive such tremendous amounts of inspiration and motivation.
Over the past two years, my focus on getting fit and having a belly full of healthy ingredients has contributed to my happiness in a way I never thought possible, and being able to share my journey through my blog brings such a sense of fulfillment to my life. No matter where life takes me, as long as I have my family and friends, good surroundings, a good workout, and a scrumptious smoothie, I’ll have a smile on my face.
How have you found happiness through your health and fitness routine? Let me know in the comments or fill out this graphic and post it to your blog/facebook/instagram tag @fitfulfocus.