Psychology of MovementExercising when you don't feel good
We are built to experience a whole spectrum of emotions and feelings - from energetic to fatigued, from happy to sad, and from calm to stressed. Of course we would prefer to feel happy and confident, and it certainly feels easier to exercise under those conditions. However, feeling good is not a daily given. In fact, we can go through phases of life where those positive feelings seem very much in the distance. Instead, we might find ourselves feeling fed up, apathetic, distracted or anxious.
Given this realisation, it is therefore important to meet yourself where you’re at. That means acknowledging where you are mentally and physically on this particular day, and making realistic decisions around exercise based on that information.
- What would you like to get out of your workout, given how you feel?
- How do you want to feel doing it, given how you feel?
Sometimes meeting yourself where you’re at means adapting or changing the activity, but it can simply mean doing a longer warm-up to see how you feel when you get going. After all, our minds are great at throwing up predictions about how awful we’ll feel doing something, when actually the reality turns out to be totally different. Or maybe it means creating a bit of “buffer” time to transition from the mindset you’re currently in to a mindset more conducive to focusing on exercise. That buffer time can also enable you to try and do something to lift your mood or clear your head.
If you know where you’re at mentally and physically and meet yourself there, you can be more likely to find a way to exercise despite what you feel.