Stress is inevitable! There are several moments in a person’s life, where they can’t help feeling stressed or anxious. You might be worried about your work, personal life, health, or relationships. All of these worries can trigger anxiety. As we all know, stress is detrimental for health. Excessive stress and anxiety not only affects your mental health, but your physical well-being as well, as both of them are interrelated.
However, there are certain precautionary measures that can be incorporated into your everyday life to stay safe from all sorts of mental afflictions. One of these preventive measures is frequent physical activity and exercise. Keep reading to learn about the relationship between exercise and anxiety, and how exercise can help reduce anxiety.
1. Mood Booster
It’s no surprise that exercise is an excellent mood booster. There are several processes in the body that are activated by physical activity, which makes it ideal for mood improvement.
If you like to exercise first thing in the morning, then you should consider stretching to get your body going. Stretching functions as an excellent way to activate your body and all of its processes. People who begin their day with some form of exercise usually end up having greater energy during the day, and they also have a better mood, which keeps all sorts of negative and anxious thoughts at bay.
2. Increased Production of Endorphins
As mentioned earlier, both physical and mental health are interconnected. If you work on your physical health, your mental health will improve as well. This can be seen by the increased production of endorphins in the body due to regular exercise.
In case you’re wondering about endorphins, then they are neurotransmitters that make you feel happier. According to research, this sudden surge in endorphin production often alludes to a runner’s high as well, but it can be aroused due to any stimulating physical activity. Therefore, exercise plays a vital role in improving endorphin production in our bodies.
3. Increased Serotonin Production
Exercise is the perfect source of ridding your body of all sorts of negative emotions. The human body produces several hormones that perform various regulatory functions. Our mood is also regulated by a few of such hormones. One hormone that is particularly known as the happy hormone is serotonin.
According to research, once you start exercising frequently, you will notice an increase in the production of serotonin, which also uplifts your mood and makes you feel happier and lighter on your feet. This improved mood is great for alleviating depression and anxiety. It also shows the positive relationship between exercise and anxiety.
4. Combating the Adverse Effects of Anxiety
In response to exercise, your body activates its in-built fight or flight response that helps you deal with distressing situations. Part of this response is an increased heart rate, faster breathing, and enhanced blood supply to your muscles. Activation of this response by exercise is thus beneficial for your body and helps your body get ‘trained’ to dealing with mental stress.
However, when you are in a constant state of anxiety as is common in the modern lifestyle, your body remains in the fight or flight mode. This can be detrimental to your well-being because your immune system and the blood supply to your viscera, such as gut, is compromised. Exercise helps you use the fight and flight response effectively by keeping anxiety at bay.
5. Releasing Stress, Tension, Cell Memories, Stored Emotions
The Positive Impact of Shaking and Tapping.
A special type of exercise is known also under the name “shaking meditation”.
The term meditation makes one think about being calm, composed and focused. However, there are various types of meditations, that can help dealing with stress and one of them is known as shaking meditation.
Contrary to the typical form of meditation, shaking meditation involves excessive movements, which serve as the perfect outlet to release also any pent-up negative energy in your body.
Another term similar to shaking meditation is Trauma Releasing Exercises or TRE. As the name suggests, these exercises are an act of letting go by gently shaking your entire body. It can help let go certain stored emotions from past traumatic experiences and release stress and tension.
Body Tapping is a great way to activate blood flow and energize yourself, circulate the energy throughout the entire body. You can find several guided “Body Tapping” exercises and routines on YouTube.
Tapping is very well-known and commonly used in chi kung / qigong, which is a suitable and beneficial mindful type of workout, exercises, body practice also for people with anxiety, which cultivates life force energy and helps stay vital and healthy. Please take a look at our recommendation – free guided qigong practices on YouTube.
There is also a “Tapping Therapy” known under the name EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique. You can also find free videos guiding you through the techniques, when you search for “Tapping Anxiety” on YouTube.
6. Getting Rid of the Pent Up Energy
With stress and anxiety comes a lot of pent up energy. You might be aware of how harmful this pent-up energy can be, and your body needs to release this energy one way or another. Therefore, exercise is one of the finest ways to relieve your body from this harmful energy.
If you indulge in some sort of strenuous physical activity, then your body gets the perfect outlet to release all the built-up energy. It offers an ideal solution to exert the negative energy out of your body. Once you start exercising frequently, you will notice a sudden decrease in your stress and anxiety.
7. Improved Cognitive Functioning
There are certain times in a person’s life when he feels lost or confused. There are times when people feel as if they can’t think straight due to stress or anxiety. Fortunately, there are numerous benefits to physical activity, and clearer thinking is one of them. If your mind ever feels foggy, then going for a run will definitely help to clear your mind.
Exercise not only allows you to think better, but it also improves your memory. As mentioned before, endorphins are excellent for your mental well-being. While they improve your mood, they also work to help you focus much better and improve your concentration and thinking capabilities. Exercise also helps to retain optimal cognitive function by preventing age-induced mental retardation.
8. Improved Self Confidence
The way you see yourself also makes a great impact on your mental health. There are several people out there, who deal with issues such as body dysmorphia and serious ailments such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia due to their negative perception of themselves.
However, exercise allows you to view yourself in a better light. Not only does it activate the production of various mood-lifting hormones, but it also allows you to keep physically fit and healthy, which, in turn, helps you look better and feel more confident in your own skin.
9. Improved Sleep
Sleep is an important part of life. Everyone needs to recharge after a tiring day at work or at home. Sleep makes you feel refreshed, and getting a decent sleep is imperative for optimal mental functioning. However, there are several people, who have issues with their sleeping routine and sleeping patterns. Solving these sleeping difficulties is essential for improving the quality of one’s life.
That being said, popping sleeping pills is not always the answer to your sleep issues. One must always try a more natural solution to their problems before going for medicines. Regular physical activity is ideal for inducing better sleep in your body as it makes you relaxed, and if you take part in some sort of strenuous physical activity, then it would be even better as it will tire you out into getting a good night’s rest.
10. Improved Energy
Everyone needs the energy to carry out their daily activities. You cannot function without adequate energy, and exercise is an ideal energy booster for all people. Any sort of exercise works to improve your heart rate, and this leads to enhanced energy levels. You can begin with some light exercise and then increase the intensity of your workout as it will help to improve your energy levels and make you feel refreshed throughout the day.
11. Enhanced Resilience
It’s not easy dealing with emotional baggage, and resilience is imperative for braving yourself through distressing situations in life. If you are going through any sort of emotional turmoil, then you must keep in mind to perform some exercise or physical activity as it helps to make you more resilient.
There are times when people feel weak and opt for more destructive ‘solutions’ to their issues, such as turning to drugs or alcohol, which only causes more harm than good. But indulging yourself in frequent exercise improves your immunity and minimizes the side effects of stress on your body that would make you inclined towards any sort of destructive behavior.
12. Enhanced Socialization
Everyone knows that humans are social species. It’s in our nature to interact with other beings as it makes us feel happy and more humane. Getting in touch with other people also uplifts your mood and spirit, especially if you are interacting with the people you know or the people you love.
Exercising with your loved ones doubles the amount of endorphin and serotonin production in your body as the exercise hormones are accompanied by the feel-good hormones that are released from being in the presence of a loved one. Working out with friends or acquaintances also has a similar positive effect.
If you go to a gym or a park to work out or jog, then this also gives you the perfect opportunity to expand your social circle and interact with more people. Meeting new people allows you to form new acquaintances, which can lead to new friendships. This boosts self-confidence as well. You are appreciated and liked by more people than before, and being in their company makes you feel good as well.
13. Final Word
Mental health is just as important as your physical health as a healthy mind promotes a healthy body. Your mental well-being is imperative for overall optimal health. Stress and anxiety are one of the major detrimental factors when it comes to mental wellness. However, before opting for any heavy medication, you should try performing different types of exercises that suit you the best. Any type of exercise helps to promote mental wellness as it relieves the symptoms of stress and anxiety. It does so in different ways, such as by increasing the levels of ‘happy hormone’, boosting your energy levels and helping you gain self-confidence.
Exercise helps with reducing anxiety. Among other recommendations to help with anxiety issues is to target certain core limiting beliefs for example with the help of suitable self-hypnosis for anxiety. Also talking to a true expert or specialist for anxiety (you can find and talk to experts on anxiety also online) can help you faster, if the approach is targeted for you specifically. Often the best choice is to decide and choose to get help from experts in the field we struggle with in our life.