There’s an old saying that the only two certain things in life are death and taxes. However, there should be a third example added to this short list: anxiety. At some point in all of our lives, we will encounter stressful and trying times that can cause feelings of anxiety to surface.
Whether it is a health crisis, a child heading off to college, unexpected car repair bills, relationship changes, and more, these facts of life lead many of us to experience some form of anxiety and stress at any given point in our lives. Many of us know adulting can be difficult at times, but there are moments where we feel completely helpless and at the mercy of our feelings. Times like these can easily build, crescendoing into a masterpiece of emotions that easily leave us suffering from restlessness and worry.
In fact, anxiety is the number one mental disorder affecting around 40 million people. Even though these emotions are common, many of us are afraid to talk about our mental state or seek help due to the stigma surrounding this disorder. Thankfully, one way we can naturally reduce these overwhelming feelings is to take advantage of exercises that release anxiety.
6 Fundamental Exercises to Release Anxiety
Experts recommend including thirty minutes of exercise, three to five days a week, to overcome anxiety and it’s symptoms. Several studies have found that regular exercise has a similar effect in people as do popular medications. By intentionally seeking different physical activities, we can harness the feel good endorphins generated by movement which can help us focus on finding our center to alleviate some of our distress and negative emotions. Plus, our exertions can help us sleep better, which is essential in the process of keeping anxiousness at bay.
Listed below are six surefire exercises to release anxiety and feel better fast:
Swimming. Diving into the pool is great for calming anxiety, because a majority of these strokes and laps require repetitive movements while requiring the swimmer to focus on rhythmic breathing. To quote Dory from Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming”.
Bike riding. People always make comments about never forgetting how to ride a bicycle. This is especially beneficial for people with anxiety, because this activity doesn’t require a lot of mental focus. Riding a bicycle is another repetitive activity, allowing us to calm our minds while stretching muscles and releasing antidepressants naturally into our bodies. This is a great way to put the brakes on stress and anxiety.
Dancing. Many anxiety sufferers have found relief by using dancing as therapy. Dancing naturally allows people to express themselves and find joy. Turn on your favorite tunes and take advantage of this creative outlet for busting anxiety and stepping your way to a peaceful state of mind.
Yoga. This time honored form of exercise has been helping people beat back stress for centuries. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or an instructor, the stretching and breathing helps people of all abilities focus while calming our bodies as they physically release tensions pent up in our bodies due to the negative automatic responses associated with anxiety. A few basic moves to try are the child’s pose, cobra pose, or the tree pose.
Coherent Breathing. Closely related to Yoga, taking deep breaths can calm our bodies and help us quelch an impending anxiety attack. When you feel your body tense, try deep breathing. Focus on regulating every minute of your breathing to include five breaths. For best results, proponents of this exercise recommend counting to five when inhaling and counting to five while exhaling for five minutes.
Walking. Hitting the pavement is a great way to reduce anxiety. Walking naturally activates soothing neurons within our brains which reduces anxiety. Consider listening to a podcast or audiobook while walking to offer our minds a distraction from our emotional and physical stressors while enjoying the fresh air and scenery.
What exercises have you found helpful to release anxiety?
About the Author
Cassie Brewer is a health professional in Southern California. In her free time, she enjoys writing about her passion (healthy living of course!) and everything beauty related. Nothing makes her happier than helping other be the best version of themselves they can be. You can read more at cassiebrewer.weebly.com and follow her on Twitter @Cassiembrewer