Exercise to Reduce Anxiety

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Exercise and Happiness

Exercise and fitness are like a tug of war for our minds. For instance, part of us envisions ourselves getting stronger and fitter, while the other half prefers to sit on the couch and watch Netflix. 

Negative thoughts about exercising include:

  1. Why put more effort into my life?
  2. I’m fine doing less work
  3. Working out requires effort; I’m already tired from my job
  4. I won’t lose weight
  5. I’ll probably get tired within five minutes of exercising
  6. I don’t see any results
  7. It’s too much work

Right off the bat, our mind comes up with negative thoughts and reasons as to why we shouldn’t exercise. This is because it’s easier for our mind and body to relax and not put in any effort. The problem is that we can’t obtain the benefits of exercise and fitness if we don’t make an effort. Some people try to get away by exercising here and there; inconsistency leads to inconsistent results. Eliminate your negative thoughts about exercise with the following positive thoughts listed below.

Positive thoughts that we need to start having regarding exercising:
  1. Hard work pays off
  2. My mental health will improve
  3. My body-mind connection will improve
  4. I will feel more confident and better about myself
  5. My discipline will improve
  6. People will compliment me on my improved physique
  7. I will have more confidence in my ability to work hard
Exercise and Fitness for Our Mental Health

You see, as with anything that requires hard work in life, negative thoughts often get in the way of succeeding. Negative thoughts have to be intentionally replaced with positive ones until our attitude shifts and the process of exercising becomes easier. Also keep in mind thaexercising is also great for our mental health and you’ll feel much better after a workout.

Exercising helps us to overcome our sadness. When we feel depressed, working out helps our mental health. Exercising is a distraction from negative thoughts that accompany depression. Rather than focusing on feeling worthless, you devote your energy to breaking down your muscles to become stronger. You transmute your negative thoughts into physical energy. Your mind becomes distracted and focused on exercising; it has no room for depression. With constant repetition, you overcome your depression and become mentally sturdier. Your mental health benefits just as much as your physical health when you stay in shape.

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Working Out Even When We Have No Drive

One of the most challenging tasks throughout the day is working out when you have no motivation. I’ve felt the experience of having days when I lack drive and motivation to workout. Everyone has experienced those days when you feel drained and you have no idea why. You feel like you’re dragging yourself throughout the day, carrying your own weight but as if you lack the strength to effectively do so. Not only do you feel your body drained of energy, but your mind feels mushy as if all you want to do is pass out. But even passing out is a difficult task because that takes effort to actually lay down and put your day on hold. When you have no motivation to exercise, it often feels like you just want to quit.

When you have depression or anxiety, exercise often seems like the last thing you want to do. But once you get motivated, exercise can make a big difference.”—Mayo Clinic Staff

But quitting gets you no where exciting when it comes to that realm. The more you allow your lack of motivation to prevail, the harder it’s going to become to get back into a solid routine. That’s because it’s not easy to work out. You have to power through even on the days when you don’t feel like doing it. That’s because if you can get through those days successfully, you often end up with a renewal of energy and interest for your next workout session.

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Not everyone can afford to just put their day on hold and take a nap as they wish. These are also the days when exercising is the absolute last thing that you want to do. You almost feel that even if someone were to offer you money to exercise, you’d still find the energy to say no; the only energy you do have. So why do these days occur and how can we prevent them?What you don’t want to do is power through on those days and not enjoy it one bit. This is because it will lead you to burning out rather quickly. But as with anything in life, you need a balance of different activities.

There are many reasons as to why these days occur in the first place:

  • Fatigue from work
  • Fatigue from lack of stimulation
  • Depression
  • Lack of motivation
  • Poor sleep hygiene
  • Stress
  • Drug consumption
  • Simply a bad day

The more honest you are with yourself, the easier it will become to prevent these types of days from reoccurring in the future. But when you are too tired to analyze why, just remember that you can always rely on a quick sugar fix to get your day going and allow you to continue your exercise routine. At the end of the day, exercising will burn off your sugar consumption, allowing you to have effectively tackled your day in style and good form!

Finding Pleasure Outside Your Home

Just take a look outside your window . . . do you see a street? There you go. That’s where you should go exercise. If there’s a park near your home then that’s even better! Now that it’s “almost” spring and the temperature is rising, it’s quite lovely to put on your Apple AirPods and go jogging outside. Forget the treadmill; it doesn’t beat nature. Leaving your home to exercise is actually really good for your mental health.

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Exercising in nature really helps to clear your mind and escape the confinement of your house. Allow the fresh air and brisk breeze surrounding the trees to guide your way through the park; feel the air rushing into your lungs as you increase your pace to the beat bumping in your eardrums.

Don’t become a sloth. Your lack of motivation plays with your sanity by gaslighting you. It’s very easy to fall into the habit of waking up late on the weekends. After all, you have just worked 5 days in a row, and the last thing that you want to do is force your body into some annoying exercise routine. But waking up early to exercise actually feels quite amazing, once you actually get going with it.

The thing with sleeping in on the weekends is that you feel rested, but it’s a different kind of feeling than exercising early in the morning. When you wake up late, you have the tendency to lay around the house and maybe just relax on your couch; your mind continues to want to rest. But when you force yourself to wake up early on the weekends in order to exercise, you feel tired at first when you wake up, but afterwards, you feel amazing!

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It feels much different to exercise in the morning than in the afternoon. In the afternoon, you still feel good after a nice workout, but you kind of also feel a little tired, considering that you just spent half or more of your day doing things. When you get home from exercising, you kind of just want to relax and maybe even stay in for the evening. It comes down to preference. But the important thing is that you are exercising!

Anxiety Causes and Things I Had to Do to Lessen It

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Please note that I didn’t write to cure it because for some people there is no cure. Anxiety may be in part genetic. So, what are some other causes: alcohol and drug abuse, chronic pain or injury, stressors or uncertainties, personality, unhealthy eating and little to no exercise, traumatic events, or diabetes, cancer, or other physical medical conditions like thyroid disorder.

So, according to my therapist, what are some things I tried that alleviate anxiety?

  1. Deep breathing
  2. Progressive muscle relaxation or the body scan from head to toe
  3. Taking a walk even around the block to begin
  4. Listening to soothing or upbeat music
  5. Drinking chamomile tea
  6. Practicing yoga or stretching
  7. Journaling
  8. Limiting caffeine & avoiding alcohol and/or nicotine
  9. Exercise such as running or swimming
  10. Get plenty of sleep by aiming for 7-8 hours in a room without electronics, preferably dark (for melatonin) and slightly on the cool side
  11. Meditation by either sitting on a chair, on the floor, or laying down to get the incredible benefits for reducing and managing anxiety
  12. Questioning your worries by asking: Is this thing that I fear likely to happen? How can I be sure? What evidence do I have? If it does happen, how does this affect me? How would someone else view this worry? Is there another possible outcome or explanation? Is this fear solvable? What can I do to solve it at soon as possible?
  13. Immerse yourself in nature by getting daily doses of fresh air and sunshine
  14. Aerobic exercise reduces cortisol levels (stress hormone) and anxious thoughts thereby making you feel happier and calmer.
  15. Give up on perfectionism by setting goals and striving for completion with the time allotted. Then submit and move on. No looking back.
  16. Cut back on sugar, which can cause or contribute to many health issues and chronic diseases, including mental health disorders like making anxiety or depression worse. Remember, sugar quickly releases energy, but it is followed by a sudden crash, which brings on even more sugar craving.
  17. Eat an antianxiety diet such as vegetables and whole grains that give a slow release of energy and are stable on blood sugar, helping to control your sugar cravings.
  18. Avoid foods from conventional farming that use chemicals such as pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and other toxins that your body needs to eliminate. Visit a farmer’s market.
  19. Avoiding processed foods are loaded with additives, preservatives, colorings, flavorings, and other chemicals that also cause a lot of extra work for your detox organs.
  20. Detoxify your body with techniques that include eating plenty of high fiber foods, i.e., root vegetables and whole grains, Epsom salt baths, quality sleep, sauna sweating, drinking enough water, hot shower for five minutes then immediately followed by a brief cold shower.
  21. Eat a healthy and balanced meal, i.e., that avoids essential nutrient deficiencies with B vitamins, Vitamin A and C, magnesium, zinc, iron and selenium, and omega 3 fatty acids that aid the body and mind in functioning correctly.

Overcoming Schizophrenia

Mind-Body-Spirit

Spiritual networking, movement exercises, and peer group work are some of ways that I’m handling my schizophrenia diagnosis. In addition to spirituality and resilience group therapy, and as well as qigong and yoga, I’ve also signed up for the following classes:

The Art of Centering

Beyond Aromatherapy

Nutrition and Cancer

Crystal Singing Bowl Sound Bath

Integrative Wellness

WarmFeet Intervention

Writing from the Body

Soul Journeying and Drum Circle

The nutrition classes aren’t just for me but my family as well. My daughter was diagnosed with MALT lymphoma a few years back and is undergoing immunotherapy maintenance (Rituximab). Centering and Journeying are more spiritual in nature and WarmFeet is because I am pre-diabetic. The sound and aromatherapy is simply peaceful and relaxing while the writing is therapeutic and helps with cognitive setbacks.  I’m often socially withdrawn because of my schizophrenia and medication side effects so these classes keep me communicating with others. The others in the groups all experience different illnesses or are caregivers to someone so it helps to know how others cope with unfortunate illness or life’s setbacks.

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