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Lift your moods by lifting weights

barbell on tiled floor, one plate lying next to barbell
barbell on tiled floor, one plate lying next to barbell

Physical exercise has been an integral part of my mental health program.

Running was the catalyst for my triumph over social anxiety, and I have been interested in the role of exercise on mental health ever since.

Five years ago, I started a weight lifting routine and fell in love with the process.

While endurance exercise receives high praise for its mood-enhancing capabilities, strength training is still mainly touted for its positive effect on the body.

While the physical benefits are well known, much less has been written about the mental health benefits of resistance exercise.

But, there is some…


Give the new year a purpose instead of goals.

We are midway through January. How did the first weeks of the new year go for you?

Did you already break your new year’s resolution?

Do you feel bad about it?

Don’t be.

Considering that the vast majority of people who set new year’s resolutions fail to achieve them, I think the concept is inherently flawed.

In fact, I have never been a fan of new year’s resolutions.

I never found it logical to set goals and improve my life only because a new year starts. It seemed an arbitrary date. Yes, I acknowledge that a new year brings with…


These 3 habits were essential

I was already half-way through my recovery when I learned about social anxiety.

Until my late 20s, I didn’t know what social anxiety was, let alone that I was suffering from it.

Yes, I always knew that I didn’t have a “normal” social life. Without friends. With being constantly bullied. But I never thought I needed to go to therapy or could experience peaceful relationships.

It’s just how my life has always been.

Kicked around in school and psychologically abused at home, I believed that I was that dumb, ugly idiot my classmates and mum told me I was.

I…


stop avoiding

Racing heartbeat, sweating, trembling hands…

” Come on! It is only a meeting. Get yourself together.”

You tell yourself to calm down.

Then your boss asks you a question.

The chatter in your head becomes frantic as you sit there and observe how your body betrays you.

”Oh, my gosh…I am sweating. Does anybody notice? Am I blushing? Fuck, my voice is shaking. They must think I am such a weirdo.”

The meeting ends, and you feel emotionally spent.

You replay every interaction, how badly you blushed, and try to discern whether that look your co-worker gave you was one…


Why cultivating mindfulness is essential

My recovery from binge eating was a road filled with shame, secrets, and overwhelming feelings of self-loathing and powerlessness.

I tried several tactics to gain control over this compulsion to comfort myself with food. Distracting myself, analyzing my behavior, reading books on binge eating disorder — I was determined to free myself from binge eating.

But no matter how many books I read or which “coping skills” I tried, I would still binge several times per week.

I would again go to that family-owned bakery downtown, buy a cheesecake, eat that whole thing myself, and finish it up with two…


science nerd with a passion for fitness and health

As per request from Dr Mehmet Yildiz and following the example of other fellow Illumination writers, I feel finally confident enough to introduce myself.

My life has been a journey of recovery, and with each passing year my life gets better.

I grew up in a dysfunctional home with an alcoholic stepfather and a mother who let out her aggression on me and my 7 siblings.

Until my 20’s, I lived with extreme social anxiety and self-hatred that was so extreme that I couldn’t manage to look into the mirror longer than a few seconds at a time. I managed…


Let go of your prejudices

Six months after walking away from my science career, I found myself applying for call center jobs.

That, in my mind, was still better than relying on the government to take care of my finances.

I expected a lot of things before starting, and I admit my expectations were mostly negative, but never that I would spend 4 years working in customer care.

Along the way, I learned how this industry can teach you some valuable life lessons. Here are 3 of them.

1. Do your best and keep your ego in check

I always held myself to high standards, and working as a customer care agent was no different.

Nicole Linke

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