Anxiety Disorders can be crippling when you’re dealing with symptoms of shortness of breath, inability to focus, inability to interact with others and inability to leave your house. These are just a few of the symptoms you may be experiencing, but any level of anxiety can take a toll on you both mentally and physically.
Studies have proven exercise and fitness activities have a direct connection to brain chemistry and how the chemicals in the brain are distributed. This is most true for mental health disorders. Exercise increases the levels of Serotonin in the brain and the likelihood of your receptors absorbing the chemical. The types of exercises don’t matter, just that do you something physical every day.
1. Increased Energy
Any level of fitness increases your energy as you are getting up and moving around more. The more you sit, the less you feel inclined to get up and around. When you take time out of your day to do something physical, even just take the stairs at work, you get your body systems working more efficiently, and therefore your energy level increases. To put this new energy to best use, workout in the mornings. Working out at night may gear you up a little too much to sleep on your schedule and as deeply as you need to.
2. Increased Levels of “Happy” Chemicals
Fitness increases the chemical function and absorption in your brain which allows your “happy” feelings to come out more. Serotonin and Noropenephrin are the two key hormones that control how you feel. This can include depression, mania and anxiety. When these chemicals are functioning better, you are less likely to feel anxiety and have mood swings. Since anxiety often also causes a physical response, you may feel relief from the other symptoms you’re experiencing.
3. Outlet to Pent-Up Anxiety
Since your anxiety manifests in physical form most of the time, choosing and sticking with a fitness routine that makes you feel relaxed and comfortable can help relieve this pent-up physical stress. If you feel aggressive physical tension, consider an aggressive fitness activity like kickboxing. If part of your anxiety stems from being harmed by others, learning a self-defense type activity may be able to help avoid those feelings of anxiety when in social situations.
4. Creates a Comfort Zone with Friends
Social situations can be anxiety triggers that lead you to stay at home to avoid those symptoms and feelings. Since fighting your anxiety needs to include decreasing your stress response to those triggers, you really have to keep yourself from holing up in your house. If you connect with friends you trust and ask them to be part of your fitness routine, you’re able to go to a fitness center, class or for a walk and have a level of safety you may not have if you go alone.
Fitness, in any form, is one of the best ways to combat or get your anxiety disorder under control. Talk with your doctor and therapist before starting a new fitness routine, and also work work with them to put together a fitness plan that will maximize benefits and work to minimize the triggers.