Many people are suffering from debilitating stress, panic attacks and other forms of anxiety and mental health issues. You are not alone! Almost 20% of the US population suffers from anxiety disorders.
One can experience anxiety-related issues for several reasons. In some cases, it is genetic while in some cases, it may stem from stressful life occurrences that interfere with mental health.
Even though anxiety can be debilitating, it is manageable. Seeing a doctor as you seek to manage anxiety is great, but you can also apply natural ways of self care. One of the best natural remedies is proper regular exercise. Focusing on physical health can both prevent and treat anxiety disorders and improve your mental health.
Here are 8 ways through which you can effectively incorporate physical fitness into your lifestyle to manage anxiety.
1. Make it a Routine
It is not a secret that many people only exercise when it is convenient. Physical exercise becomes the last thing on their mind as they plan their day. You must make physical exercise non-negotiable and mandatory.
The best way to achieve this would be to identify a specific time of the day that works best for you. Set an alarm and make the activity your daily routine.
Exercising as part of your treatment for anxiety is like taking medication. Do not fail to take your medicine at the appointed time. If you think of it like this, you won’t miss it.
2. Find Yourself an Accountability Partner
It is not easy to stay focused on exercising daily if you do not have someone to keep you accountable, preferably an exercise partner. As a matter of fact, it is more fun and you get motivation to keep on progressing forward toward your goals.
You can find a gym partner or a walking buddy and accompany one another as you work on your physical health. To effectively workout together, you need to harmonize your schedules and make sure your exercise time is the same.
Besides being kept accountable, you also get someone to socialize with and share your worries with. This is also another way to manage stress.
3. Find What Works For You
Have you heard of Jacks of all trades? They rarely get the best out of whatever they do. You do not need to try out all kinds of exercise out there; there are many different forms of exercise and as long as you are keeping to a specific routine, you don’t need to try out them all.
Out of the many ways one can exercise, find the one that works best for you. Try different things such as weight-lifting, jogging and walking. You can also take classes such as Zumba, Yoga or Boxing. After getting a general feel of the different forms of exercise, choose the one you enjoy most; the one that calms you best.
Technological advancement has given room for you to exercise from home by streaming online classes from the comfort of your home. There are lots of fitness apps that you can use to make fitness plans that work best for you as well.
4. Stay Social
Since you are focusing on getting better through physical exercise, the temptation to lock out people and focus on yourself is strong. You should not neglect other remedies for anxiety disorders. Socializing is equally important.
Maintain getting together with people close to you. You can pay them a visit or have them come over to your place. Meeting at some nice outdoor place is also a great idea. In cases where you are separated by distance, you can stay connected to them using electronic means.
5. Be Patient
It takes time to fully adjust to a new routine. And just like taking antidepressants, physical exercise may not start working immediately. In fact, it may feel like a piece of work when you are just starting off.
Give it at least 3 to 6 weeks for it to feel like a part of you, especially if you have not been exercising previously. Set daily and weekly targets for your exercise, and add onto them as time goes by. If you are walking for example, you can start off with a 15 minutes walk per day and gradually increase it to 30 minutes per day and so on.
6. Go Outdoors
There are many online classes you can sign up for, and so many fitness apps you can use. However, try going outside as much as you can. Getting a burst of fresh air and the sunlight can make you feel relieved and calm.
Treadmills are great, but going for a run or walking outdoors is even greater. It helps to run in a beautiful natural environment that has trees and plants. If you come across flowers, you can sniff their scents; it’s therapeutic.
7. Do Not Quit
You may sometimes feel like you do not want to engage in any fitness activity. You may just want to stay indoors the whole day and do nothing. When that thought crosses your mind, spring out of bed and promise yourself you are going to do it, even if it is just for 15 minutes, for the sake of your mental health.
If you are not able to sustain long periods of exercising, you do not have to go the whole stretch. That ten-minute workout can end up being just as good as the forty-five minute workout you had planned.
Exercising can work wonders and tremendously help you manage anxiety and improve your mental health. It seems like a lot of work especially at the beginning, but it is definitely worth it. You should just find the best form of exercise that works best for you, be patient, and utilize outdoor spaces.
As you work on physical fitness, do not neglect other ways through which you can manage anxiety. Listen to your favorite genre of music, practice mindfulness meditation, take your medication if need be, and go for talking therapies with a mental health professional.