Motivation is actually a mental muscle that works a lot like your joy muscle —the more you exercise it, the easier it gets. Exercise doesn’t have to mean 60 minutes of heart-pounding, heavy-breathing activity that leaves you sweaty and exhausted. And you don’t need any special equipment or a gym membership (unless it brings you joy to have those things).

Just do something you actually enjoy doing: take a walk around the block, hop on your bike, or just do some stretches while you’re watching TV. The important thing is to make a deal with yourself that you’ll do something rather than nothing. On days when you find yourself struggling to find motivation to get out and move, take a moment to ask yourself how you want to feel today and what would most likely help you make that happen.

One of the chief benefits of exercise, especially if you’re dealing with negative emotions, is that it stimulates the release of endorphins and neurotransmitters in your brain. These are your body’s natural feel-good chemicals, and they can provide a significant mood boost at the same time they’re helping you generate some motivation to keep moving. Add a little fresh air and some sunshine, and you’ll be back to your joyful self within minutes!

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