Managing My Anxiety Through Exercise
Life is full of uncontrollable circumstances, but when your thing — your biggest weakness — is control, that doesn’t bode well. For me, lack of control, among other things, manifests in anxiety. I finally have a name for the racing heart and shortness of breath I feel at random moments, something I lacked for years, and after a severe life-shift, I realized I needed to figure out how to get it under control. (Ironic, right?)
After trial and error, I found something that helped significantly: exercise.
I have a friend who is a Beachbody coach, and as I watched her journey I had the same initial thoughts I’m sure we all do when we see that stuff: “yeah, right”; “stop spamming my news feed”; “these results aren’t real.” And yet…I kept following. It felt like something was nagging at me, pulling me toward this system I felt was ridiculous.
Then one day I decided to really give it a go.
I had been running and exercising at my apartment’s facility for a few months, but I wasn’t really seeing results — physical or mental. I didn’t really have a structure, and I was going at it alone.
Joining my friend’s Beachbody team provided not only structure through the exercise programs — which involve exercise and nutrition — but also a little community. And that began to make all the difference.
By managing not only what was going into my body but also the exercises, I realized I was managing my anxiety.
Because, while I still have a racing heart, I know how to breathe through it better.
It’s also helped my running, which I still enjoy doing. I can run faster and for longer, and my recovery isn’t so terrible — I can breathe easier quicker.
I’m far from perfect. I mess up on the nutrition some days, especially after runs, and I don’t always make it through every single rep of every workout video. But I push through to complete it, and that’s the biggest thing I’ve learned: keep pushing. There’s a difference between discomfort and pain.
I may not be able to control much in life, especially right now, but I can control my exercise and nutrition, and thereby control my racing heart.