23 Feb Anxiety Reduction: Get Moving
The idea of adding exercise into a stressful moment may not sound calming, yet it is. Exercise in all its many forms can reduce anxiety. Finding just 30 minutes a day to get moving can greatly increase a sense of calm. If you don’t have 30 minutes during a stressful moment, 5 minutes of stretching or cardio can positively impact symptoms of anxiety.
In this context, try thinking less about exercise as a way to get in shape and more about a way to self-soothe during times of overwhelming anxiety.
Exercise brings you back into the present moment to decrease symptoms like racing thoughts, panic, or harsh self-criticism. Kind of like a CTRL-ALT-DELETE for the brain.
This rebooting through physical activity works because it increases the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Research has shown that exercise can reduce fatigue, and increase concentration and cognitive function.
Increased concentration and cognitive function paired with increased mood allows you to get back to the task at hand with a purposeful focus. The deep breathing you do while exercising also helps to clear your mind and reduce anxiety (Just Breathe).
2 Quick Ways to Get Moving:
- Stretching: Can do anywhere and it does not have to take a lot of time. Check out the video below by clinical social worker, Gary Siegal.
2. Skip Rope: Jump ropes travel easily in a purse or backpack. Plus, you get to re-visit a grade school activity at a point when levity may be helpful.
Single-unders: Hold the jump rope with both hands, swing it in front of you then jump over it.
Double-unders: Double-unders are a little trickier. They require you to get the rope under your feet twice in one jump. Keep as tight as possible, keeping your arms by your side as you swing the rope around. Takes a little more practice.
*If you have had any physical injuries or ailments, check with your doctor before starting an exercise routine.
I wish you joy and energy in moving back to a state of calm – Kate
Kate Murphy, LMSW
Kate Murphy, a therapist in Berkeley Lake, specializes in helping you decrease stress and anxiety. You can live a more balanced, connected, and meaningful life. Kate works with individuals and couples over the age of 18 to support healing, communicating, and experiencing joy more often.