Anxiety Disorder:

A Simple Way To Get Anxiety Relief

Stressed man witht hand on face and cartoon-like scribbles of gears and frustration marks around his head

Millions of people are plagued with anxiety disorder. And many others will experience anxiety problems at some point in their lives, depending upon their reaction to anxiety-provoking events. Both children and adults suffer from anxiety, which can be caused by abrupt and difficult changes in life circumstances or other upsetting problems.

Some seek counseling for their anxiety condition while others try to handle it on their own. In either case, a simple yet powerful technique for reducing anxiety can be quite helpful for most people. It's not exotic or new, and it's not a drug, but it works. Yes, exercise can give you effective anxiety relief.

And if you make exercising fun, you'll want to exercise and you'll exercise more often.

What It Will Do For You

Okay, we know that exercise is a tremendous boon to our overall physical and emotional well being. In fact, the lack of proper exercise could cause or contribute to your anxiety.

This is often the case with the children I counsel. As a result of having to stay inside, or not having adequate outlets for their energy, they develop emotional problems or current problems become exacerbated. Interestingly enough, the same can be said for pets. For example, when a pooch has to stay cooped up in a tiny apartment without exercise it can get quite anxious, depressed or destructive.

The good news about exercise is that it benefits the whole person (or pet), and can have a favorable affect on emotional functioning.

What The Research Says

  1. Anxiety Researchers have been asking whether exercise can help with anxiety. In one study, jogging was shown to be more effective than placebos in treating anxiety disorders.Aerobic classes have been helpful in treating anxiety, as well, with long lasting results. In some cases, exercise has been as effective as certain forms of talk therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, one of the most successful, widely studied and used therapies.
  2. Depression Did you know that exercise has been shown to help with mild or moderate depression? Yes, exercise has been prescribed with great success to many depressed people. So, if you suffer from an anxiety disorder plus depression, exercise can be a valuable tool in getting depression and anxiety releif. When I am assessing a new client for depression one of the first questions I ask is about the level of physical activity or exercise the client gets. Usually a depressed person will not be getting enough exercise because the depression tends to keep people from exercising. And the lack of exercise can make depression worse. 
  3. Stress and Other Emotional Disorders Exercise has been shown to be an anecdote for stress. There are many steps a person can take to alleviate stress, such as debriefing at the end of a difficult day, but few are better than old fashioned exercise.Plus, new studies are assessing the role exercise may play in overcoming substance abuse and schizophrenia, and early results appear promising.
Young Asian male playing basketball.

A Well-Rounded Approach

The best way to deal with an anxiety disorder is to develop a multi-faceted plan. For example, talk to someone you trust about what's troubling you or, better yet, get professional counseling; if you have had medication prescribed for you, take it according to the guidelines; make sure you get plenty of exercise on a regular basis -- it can make you feel so good (always have your doctor approve of your exercise plan); eat nutritious meals and take care of your general health; and keep the people you love close to you and all your relationships strong.  

When life becomes especially hard and frustrating, remember to de-stress by getting some exercise! Staying active will give you strong anxiety relief and help to decrease the severity of your symptoms, keeping your anxiety disorder at bay. 

Remember: A little exercise every day is better than a lot now and then!

What if you don't feel like exercising? Do it anyway! You'll get into the swing of things, once you get started. Try getting a partner to help motivate you. Or choose an exercise program that you find interesting and exciting -- one you are more likely to stay with it. Or exercise with the folks on TV.

Find a way . . . somehow.

If you have medical issues which keep you from exercising, ask your physician or personal trainer to give you an exercise program tailored to meet your needs. Always get your health care provider's approval before starting a rigorous exercise program.

Now you know how helpful exercising can be to your anxiety disorder. So, what are you waiting for? Get going! Ride that bike, run that mile or play your favorite golf course -- but walk, don't ride. Or sign up for an exercise class at the gym. Going to the gym two or three times a week can have a most favorable impact on your anxiety.

If you don't want to go alone, get a partner to go with you. Exercise will keep your mind and body going strong, and make it easier to deal with anxiety disorder.  You can get more ideas on how to cope with an anxiety disorder here. Happiness techniques work beautifully with exercise to get most people anxiety relief.

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