Exercise is a very important part of battling anxiety the healthy way. Far too many people turn to alcohol or other stimulants to get that feel-good feeling that helps to overcome anxiety, but these stimulants only hurt you in the long run.
You can increase your physical activity not just to help overcome anxiety, but to get physically fit, lose or maintain weight, and help reduce a number of diseases.
Exercise provides happy chemicals
If you have ever heard someone talk about how happy they are after finishing a run, you might have thought they were crazy.
It’s not always the actual exercise that gives them a boost in their mood, but the endorphins. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are known as happy chemicals.
These can give you more energy and put you in a great mood. You feel happy and fulfilled while also working on your physique.
It’s best that you start slow when you introduce a new workout routine. If you attempt to do too much, too fast, you increase the risk for an injury.
At the very least, it burns you out, causing you to want to stop altogether. Start with a modest routine of 20-minutes a day, about 2-3 times a week.
This can be any sort of exercise you like, from swimming to walking. You will gradually increase it to longer stretches of time and workout out more often.
A good goal to have is around an hour of exercise 4-5 times a week.
Choose an exercise you enjoy
Not all exercises are fit for everyone, so you need to find one you personally enjoy. If you hate running, don’t run!
This is only going to make it difficult for you to stick to it, which can hurt your efforts to improve your life and battle your anxiety.
Here are some different types of exercises to consider:
- Walking, jogging or running
- Bicycle riding
- Indoor rock climbing
- Martial arts and kickboxing
- Treadmill or elliptical machines
- Weight training
Deep breathing is the deliberate action of taking in large and deep breaths that helps you focus your energy and thoughts.
Get Quality Rest
Getting adequate sleep each night is an essential tool to help your body cope with stress.
Note: Everything and every situation may seem bigger, scarier, and more worrisome when you are tired and exhausted.
Know Your Symptoms
By recognizing your body’s internal cues, you’ll learn to determine when you’re experiencing too much stress and anxiety.
Start by paying close attention to feelings of fatigue, anxious thoughts, restlessness, and muscle tension. Once you learn to recognize these stressful trends, you can stop these tell-tale symptoms before they start.
Start an Anxiety Journal
Another healthy habit to incorporate into your daily routine that will help with anxiety is writing in a journal.
Journaling is often a recommendation for self-improvement because it can provide more clarity, gives you a safe space to share your thoughts and feelings, and offers more insight into your own wants, needs, and desires.
It is also a great tool for anxiety.
Here are some benefits of writing in an anxiety journal:
- It gives you something tangible to do to help relieve panic attacks.
- You can keep track of your anxiety to figure out what your triggers are.
- You are able to identify issues in your life that should be resolved in order to reduce anxiety overall.
- It provides more clarity into your innermost thoughts and feelings.
Keep your anxiety journal separate from your other journals, such as the one you use to track your diet and exercise, or your daily diary.
This should be for writing down all episodes of anxiety and panic attacks, including details surrounding the event.
Come Up With a List of Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations are words or phrases you repeat to yourself to uplift your mood and make you feel enlightened. They are very important to use when you suffer from anxiety since they can help calm you down and reduce how often your mood is shifted to severe anxiety or stress.
All phrases should be positive and exude confidence in yourself and your own abilities. Some examples of positive affirmations include:
- I enjoy being in social situations.
- I am a confident, happy person.
- I will do well today.
- I will reach my goals after hard work.
- I will not let negative thoughts consume me.
- I have the talents necessary to succeed.
- I forgive people who hurt me in the past.
You can come up with your own affirmations that present positivity in order to motivate you and keep you grounded. Some may be very specific to situations, while others are general affirmations.
Spend a few minutes each morning repeating your affirmations. If you need to, write some of your favorite affirmations on sticky notes and put them on your bathroom mirror.
This will remind you each day to repeat the affirmations and keep you in a positive mood.
Get the Support You Need
While there are many ways you can help yourself and relieve your anxiety, don’t underestimate the power of asking for help. Sometimes, you need to have emotional support from others or even get professional help with your anxiety.
Are you concerned whether your current health insurance covers your therapy sessions? Check the description of your health plan benefits — it should include information on mental and behavioral health services.
Or consider BetterHelp’s online therapy as an affordable option. Prices are billed at reasonable out-of-pocket rates, so the sessions are more affordable for the non-insured, or for people who have health insurance with high premiums, deductibles, or copays.
Getting support from family, friends, or a mental health professional combined with these healthy habits you have learned will ensure that you keep anxiety to a minimum.