Anxiety can be crippling. It can affect your life in every way imaginable. Walking down the street or going to shops on your own can pose a significant challenge.
Anxiety can be due to a series of life events, which may have left you with significant mental scarring. It may be because you have endured a lot of stress at work or you may be genetically predisposed to it.
Whatever the reason, if it’s there – it sucks. Psychologists can help with CBT but there are things you can do on your own that can really help to combat your anxiety, not just masking it, but facing it head on and getting rid of it for good.
Want to know what you can do? Exercise. Exercise, training and going to the gym can help you manage and even abolish your anxiety and improve your life. Here’s why…
Builds your confidence!
Training in a gym or in an athletic capacity can help to build your confidence no end. Using the gym as an example, especially if you are working with a trainer can build your confidence in more ways then one.
Each week you train, you will feel more confidence and happy in your environment. As you become used to the movements and the styles of training you will start to let go a little more with each session.
A trainer can push you and you will see your technique, skill, strength and stamina improve week by week. You will achieve personal bests and your body will be able to endure heavier weights and higher rep ranges.
Training regularly can enable you to enjoy a sense of achievement each time you complete a session. Your confidence in your own ability and your sense of self will grow alongside your training.
If it’s social anxiety you suffer from, the gym offers a very socially rich environment where you will be able to communicate with like-minded individuals.
It gives you a focus
One of the main problems anxiety suffers face is giving in to the anxiety. Anxiety likes to sustain itself by making itself present in your thoughts almost constantly. Beating it is possible by diverting your attention away from its grip.
Training allows you to fully engage your body and mind onto the exercise at hand. You will become aware of your breathing and how your body responds and this will become your focus.
When you are in the gym, as you are completing pushing or pulling movements you certainly aren’t thinking about your anxiety. You are focusing all your attention on moving that weight correctly.
Also, out of the gym the focus continues. You can indulge in eating and making the correct foods for your pre and post workout fuel and plan your workouts if you aren’t working with a personal trainer.
Is personal training something you have ever considered?
If you are very nervous about entering the gym or your anxiety flares up a lot at the thought of training then investing in a personal trainer is a super idea.
A personal trainer can be your familiar face and your safe person. Your trainer will guide you through the sessions, plan them and understand your boundaries. Your trainer will know your limits and make you feel comfortable in and around the gym.
Having this close relationship will not only help you with your anxiety but will also ensure you get the most out of your training. You will be pushed gently and you will also get out of your comfort zones on a regular basis.
Training increases heart rate and stimulates an array of sensations in the body, to which an anxiety sufferer might normally interpret as dangerous. Regularly experiencing these sensations allows the person to understand they aren’t harmful or dangerous but completely normal.
Last but not least… ENDORPHINS!
Endorphins are probably the main reason why you should enjoy exercises as a form of anxiety management and treatment.
When you exercise your body releases endorphins, or more commonly known as the ‘feel good hormones’. These give you a natural high and make you feel happy. When your brain is in this state it is much harder to become anxious.
If you are feeling depressed, stressed or anxious doing any form of exercise at all can almost instantly change your mood. The extra blood flow to your brain will also make you feel more refreshed and revived.
Anxiety is unpleasant but you don’t have to let it control you. Anxiety often produces excess adrenaline so getting rid of it in the gym will promote a calmer more relaxed you.
All of the above reasons are exactly why you should incorporate exercise into your anxiety treatment and prevention regime.
Do what you can, push yourself that little bit harder and your body will truly thank you for it.