Sweating for a Mood Shift


It is astounding what a positive effect exercising has had in every aspect of my life. And I do mean EVERY.

Out of the blue, in 2011, my foot started hurting really bad. I went to the doctor and he shot me up with cortisone. It gave relief for 2 days. Then, the pain came back with a vengeance. I demanded another shot. The doctor wouldn’t do it. Instead, he recommended that I get special inserts for my sneakers and start walking.

His advice felt overwhelming. I was too ashamed to move or be seen. I had long abandoned all exercise routines, out of humiliation for having gained so much weight. Not only was I dealing with the over-weight of my body (I weighed 294 lbs), but also the weight of depression. I was terrified of losing the ability to walk, so I decided to make a walking plan of action.

My 1st goal was to walk around the block for the next 7 days. After a week, some of the pain in my foot went away, but not much. A more noticeable benefit was that my walks slightly lifted my spirits. It was so subtle that I was surprised I could even detect it. But it was there.

The next week my goal was to walk around three blocks. First thing, I began each day with a walk. It gave me an excuse to get out of the house. I felt refreshed with the breathing of movement. Clean air. Birds. Green grass. Big sky. I felt hopeful when the sun hit my face, even as I still felt depressed, monotone and ruminating in negative thoughts. Walking was like a break from analyzing myself and the world around me. There was less thinking and more moving. Funny how when I walked, those same days were always more productive and structured too.

12 weeks later—I was walking for one hour increments at least three times a week. The pain from my foot had completely vanished and the depression had lifted. Amazing.

Today, I feel 100,000 times better after I have finished working out, then I do before I start. And that’s verbatim. Exercise is a miraculous tool to shift your mood, blow off steam, transform stress, get out of your head, feel your own strength and endurance and raise your self-esteem.



About author

Lisa Jo Barr

Lisa Jo Barr is a prolific writer. Her articles, columns and blogs have been published online, in newspapers and magazines worldwide, and has been featured in the book Chicken Soup for the Recovering Soul, Daily Inspirations. She is currently working on her first book. Lisa has a PhD in the School of Hard Knocks. Not only has she survived trauma, including childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence and rape; but she has overcome sex addiction, as well as other addictions to cigarettes and cocaine, and has learned how to manage Bipolar I and Complex PTSD. One of the brightest beacons in Lisa's life has been a strong determination to know herself, no matter what it takes, along with a knowing that she can deeply inspire -- that her experiences can help others realize they are not alone, that there is always hope for a better future. Lisa loves to swim, travel and listen to music. She lives in Denver, Colorado.

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