“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” – Elle Woods from Legally Blonde

Most of us have seen Legally Blonde. At least those of us over 30. (Man, I’m showing my age!) It was a huge rom-com hit in 2001 that left women everywhere feeling empowered to run after their dreams. #gobigorgohome

One of the main things I got from the movie is Elle’s point of view that exercise and happiness are connected. She is trying to prove that her fitness instructor friend, Brooke Taylor, is innocent and did not murder her husband. She says the quote mentioned above in defense of the toned Brooke. It stayed with me.

Maybe because there have been days where I ended up pulling the covers over my head instead of lacing up my running shoes. And I walked around in sloth like fashion the rest of the afternoon with a mood that was just okay. On those days (and every other day in between) I had to choose- do I want to be uncomfortably happy or do I want to be comfortably okay?

Exercise isn’t always fun and, if done right, it stretches me and pushes me out of my comfort zone. The results just in my mood, not to mention my body confidence, are worth it, though. However, laying in bed (or sitting on the couch) all day is familiar and enjoyable. But does my mood exhibit happiness with my comfort or does it seem to be lacking a bit in the lifelong satisfaction department? Hmmm….food for thought, maybe?

I’ve discovered after much testing of both ideas (happy vs. just okay) that I am a more productive person when I’ve done some kind of physical activity that day. My mind is more focused and able to complete tasks on my to-do list way better after a run. My body feels great and refreshed after I sweat out those nasty toxins from last night’s french fry binge-fest. And my mood? Well, it may not be at the Elle Woods level of energetic happiness but it sure isn’t at the do nothing all day level of complacency anymore.

Let’s just be clear- This is not about losing weight. I’m done fighting with the numbers on the scale. I’m through with criticizing my tummy bulge and inspecting every square inch of cellulite on my bootie.

This is about survival. And in my opinion, we aren’t really surviving if we’re living an okay life when we could actually be living our BEST life. What does your BEST life look like? Here’s a glimpse of mine:

More self acceptance, less self hatred. More time for my dreams/goals, less time wasted on Netflix marathons. More joy found in the simple things of today, less despair found in the complicated things of yesterday.

How do I achieve these things? How do I survive well? I put one foot in front of the other despite what my feelings say about my previous poor eating habits or my past patterns of ignoring my body’s cries for help… and I get moving.

We have to equip ourselves for the journey of life and last time I checked this living thing isn’t for the weak and feeble. It’s hard, strenuous and even tortuous at times. But staying stuck in that pit of self pity because you’re not strong enough to climb out? That makes life even harder.

What if I were to tell you that exercise, like life, is as fun as you make it? What if I said that there is no shame in only fitting in 15 minutes that day if that’s all you have time to give? What if I said, anything is better than nothing?

Believe me, the best thing you can do for yourself on those days of grey skies and stormy winds is chase after your BEST life like Channing Tatum is waiting for you at the finish line with a cupcake in his hands. You have to face the torrential downpour head on despite the nagging pull to just go back to bed.

Because YOLO. Because FOMO. Because you deserve to be happy. And a little rain never hurt anybody…in fact, it causes things to grow.

So go get your Elle Woods on and happily embrace today as if it’s only going to come your way once. (Pink workout gear and all!) Because, well, it is.

*PLEASE! If you are young and spry, do yourself a favor and watch Legally Blonde sometime. If not for any other reason then to make me not feel so old.*

Harmony Vuycankiat

Harmony is a proud Air Force wife and blessed mother of 4 children. Her heart’s cry is to love without limits and live without regrets. She plans to use her criminal justice degree to tangibly help marginalized women and children all over the world. Writing, singing, and running are her methods of soul therapy and Starbucks coffee is her happy juice. The quote that she lives by is, “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I’ve used everything you gave me.’ ” (Erma Bombeck)