I've struggled to find happiness before. More accurately, I've struggled to find something that brings me happiness that isn't my family or significant other. Sometimes I fall into the trap of not having a hobby. Hobbies can bring you joy, provide you with an escape from life and connect with you other people who are similar to you.

Dance was always my hobby growing up. I could spend time with friends, get in a good workout and perform in front of people - all things I loved. But, after I graduated high school, my days of dancing were over. I knew I wouldn't have time to dance in college for a professional team and I didn't want to pursue dance as a career. So, what was I to do to fill that void?

I began working out. I turned the gym into my happy place and found my new hobby.

Working out and fitness aren't everyone's' favorite things in the world - probably because it takes a lot of work, makes you sweat and can be extremely frustrating. Trust me, I know. I used to hate gym class in school because of merely the mile run. I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of my classmates because I couldn't run a mile faster than maybe 9 minutes (I know this isn't the worst time, but, for a "fit" dancer this was a slow time).

Now, I enjoy going to the gym. As crazy as this may sound, the gym is just like a treat for me because it means I have enough time to ignore everything else in my life at the moment. Over the summer, I began doing Crossfit at a local box. I loved lifting weights with this new community of fitness-lovers - everyone at a different level with no judgment. This is what I strive for at school: a place of comfort and community. I found the community aspect in CHAARG, but I found a sense of happiness in myself just existing at the gym.

I know working out positively impacts my mood because of a few things.

1. I'm crabby if I don't work out.
2. I can't concentrate without working out.
3. I feel less confident if I don't work out.

After I put at least an hour in the gym, I usually feel refreshed and centered. With my journalism and communication majors, I'm constantly in front of a screen - writing, taking photos or reading. When I'm at the gym, I'm practically forced to look at nothing OR look at myself which is even better. I can see my progress, see where I need improvement and focus on one thing - not 10.

Above all, I've found a new happiness and confidence in becoming more fit and healthy. Fitness has transformed my look on the world - understanding what I put in my body, realizing what I do to my body and knowing when to leave my body be. You can learn so many lessons from pushing your body to new limits. If anything, I am more in-tune with myself since finding this new hobby.

If you're struggling to accept yourself, find confidence in fitness. If you don't have a hobby, find fun in a fitness community. If you simply need happiness, find joy in self-improvement. Happiness comes from within, which is why I work out.