It has taken me a long time to understand how to face my feelings of same-sex attraction. Overtime, I found that a lot of it involves keeping my mind in good spirits, and to do that I can see that sticking to The Five Goals of Courage really helps. I also added another one for myself: taking care of my mental and physical health.

It is not uncommon for people who experience same-sex attractions to suffer from anxiety or depression, quite often triggered by the feelings of same-sex attraction itself. As such, there is documented evidence of the positive impact that exercising has in managing your mood and helping to deal with the ripple effects. Physical activity naturally releases endorphins like serotonin which in turn help to put you in a better state of mind.

I only came to connect the dots between physical and mental health relatively recently, after further talks with health care professionals and friends at Courage. I remember joining the gym during my last year in high school and how much I liked weightlifting. Once I became a young adult, my top marks at my University, and later my first years working in a demanding job, took a severe toll on my gym routine. Years passed and a pal of mine shared with me that exercising was a way that I could help manage my sleep deprivation, a product of countless nights helping to take care of my newborn baby. After my friend’s call to action, I re-instated my gym membership, started showing up at the gym in my office at noon, and took my old bicycle for short rides around my neighborhood. While it was a start that had a small positive impact on my physical health, I was far from realizing that it could also have a positive impact on my mental health, if done properly.

However, I didn’t realize that to do this I needed to elevate my cardiac level, which you don’t usually get from weightlifting or short bike rides. Thanks be to God, in the spare time gained due to working from home during the pandemic I found a new trend: High Intensity Training (HIT) workouts. These are two, three, or five minutes of combined push-ups, sit-ups, crunches, and other similar exercises. I also started utilizing fitness apps, which helped me make further progress. These apps helped me to ramp up my training and get even better outcomes.

Technology was so helpful for me with this, and I realized that YouTube was a hub for hundreds, or maybe thousands of entrepreneur trainers offering their HIT routines online. These routines quickly made me sweat in five minutes or less, which in turn helped me manage my moods, or keep me busy for 45 minutes on a weekend morning. As a bonus, my physical fitness improved much more than when I was just going to the gym, despite my previously attending Monday through Sunday. Now I can say for myself that the story about sweating and helping your body release endorphins to better manage your mindset is true. Thanks to sticking to my fitness app routine and HIT exercises I have found myself in a better position to deal with my feelings of same-sex attractions and enjoying a clearer mind with minimal to no anxiety.

My call to action for you

Now it is your time to shine, including physically! I invite you to mentally visualize yourself downloading a fitness app that resonates with you or finding a YouTube workout routine and starting your first exercise routine today. Then, imagine yourself repeating this daily, or as often as you want or can. If you don’t like physical exercise, or aren’t able to do intense workouts, just start small. You can do an exercise routine that is shorter, or you can simplify the exercises. For example: instead of doing a five-minute HIT routine try one or two minutes of crunches. If crunches are too much for you, switch to sit-ups. Do what works best for you!

Come on! Everybody can do it!

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The opinions and experiences expressed in each blog entry in “The Upper Room” belong solely to the original authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Courage International, Inc. Some entries have been edited for length and clarity.