Dr. Michael Cutler, editor of Easy Health Options, has often referenced the importance of positive energy in his many health-related articles and books. He has written, “Emotions have a powerful effect on the immune system and other bodily functions. Emotions are ‘energy in motion.’”
Negative emotions or energy can hold many people back and prevent them from being the happy healthy person they deserve to be, whether facing a lifestyle goal to lose weight or living with a chronic illness. The odds can seem so stacked that it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But many experts believe that if you can harness your willpower, the mind can overcome the downfalls of the physical body.
There’s a song by a band called Sister Hazel that I think of anytime I’m in situations where a little extra willpower is needed. The refrain goes like this:
If you want to be somebody else,
If you’re tired of fighting battles with yourself,
If you want to be somebody else
Change your mind…
Noah Galloway, a veteran who lost his left arm and leg while serving his second tour in Iraq, decided to change his mind—and his life—five years after a fateful encounter with an IED ended his career as a soldier and labeled him disabled. He recently shared his story with Mike Zimmerman in Men’s Health Magazine. Here’s an excerpt:
Back in the States a disabled vet, he stopped going out. “I’d sit at home and drink and smoke and sleep. That’s all I did.”
But one day in 2010, he finally saw it: what was left of him.
He remembers the night vividly. He was standing at the mirror. The remnant of a man looking back at him was dirty, flabby, sallow, beer-soaked. He’d been so consumed with what he had lost that he couldn’t see what he was doing to the remainder.
But there it was: the mirror moment of clarity.
Time to get to work.
Galloway got to work in an amazing way. He found a 24-hour gym so he could work out at 2 a.m. when hardly anyone else was there. Despite missing his left arm and leg, he was able to workout by rigging standard machines with special cuffs. Eventually, he was able to work out well enough that he was comfortable being at the gym with others around.
Next he began running, and realized how poor his cardio conditioning was. After an obstacle 5k, he went on to three CrossFit events, three marathons, eight Tough Mudders, and a dozen Spartan races.
Most recently, Galloway, who hails from Alabama, was awarded the title of ‘Ultimate Men’s Health Guy’ from Men’s Health Magazine. He proudly appears on the cover of the November 2014 issue, an inspiration to men and women everywhere.
He has come a long way but every day can still be a challenge. In this excerpt from the interview Galloway explains:
“Yeah, there are down days,” he says. “I don’t dwell on it, because that makes it worse. I don’t try to cover it up because that’s something I did when I was depressed. I’ve learned that this too shall pass. A couple of days later I’ll be like, ‘Whooo, yeah, I really felt bad a couple of days ago. Now I’m good!'”
Facing unbelievable odds and armed only with his personal determination, a depressed and disabled military veteran was able to harness his willpower to take back his life. He still runs but also spends time volunteering for multiple veterans’ charities, of which his favorite is Operation Enduring Warrior, a title he exemplifies.
Many people face daily battles that may pale in comparison to Galloway’s story. That doesn’t mean those battles are any easier to fight. But willpower is a tool available to anyone willing to pick it up and make the positive change they want to see in their life.