How I Found My Why

Dylan Kozen


     The best place I have found to start in improving my mental health is to establish a baseline or a why. You're why is why you do what you do. You're why could be different in different aspects of life. In mental health, then why is the base of everything it’s the thing that bounces you back when you feel you’ve hit rock bottom. It’s the reason to get out of bed, it’s the reason to not give up.


     I found my why during my time in the Marine Corps after one of my best friend’s and roommate Ethan passed away in a car accident at the age of 24. It gave me an understanding of how precious life was, feeling the pain in that loss, and seeing it in his family I knew I would never want my family to experience that pain, I made that my why. My why is that I know my story can help others. I was dealt some bad hands in life early. But I’m not alone. All the things I have faced others have too, and unfortunately more will face in the future. I’m sharing my story now in hope that when faced with similar problems people don’t make the same mistakes I did to self-medicate or self-harm. Finding you're why sets a baseline for making decisions. Look for your why in the things closes to you. Start with your friends and family, make yourself better to set an example for others close to you to follow. Your why needs to be something greater than yourself, share your why with people close to you it makes it harder to let someone else down then it is yourself.


     My why is also my reason to get to the gym each day. In the heavy workouts, I release stress and anxiety which allow me to clear my mind and focus on the things that are real. For instance, after months of squatting every day, I have a better understanding of my relationship with my friend, the things Ethan taught while we lived together. Ethan was the first person to teach about using the barbell as therapy and how to use the lessons in the gym in your everyday life to be a better man. I have learned to appreciate these lessons more and more since his passing.


     The physical workouts directly affect your mental health. Make that the reason to stick to your gym schedule. People around you will not only notice your physical changes, but people will notice how you interact and treat them. Finding you why is the start. Once you find a strong why It makes the end goal very clear and focused everything else will fall into place, it will establish the reason to keep moving forward and stay motivated in the gym even when things do get hard.


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