On the Other Side of Anxiety
Your decision to train with me could be the single most important modification you can make in your life to combat your generalized anxiety. Once thought to only be treatable with medication, the benefits of exercise to reduce the symptoms and associated fears are even more powerful.
The list of benefits of how exercise combats anxiety is substantial:
- When you engage in high-intensity exercise, you teach your body to tolerate an increased heart rate and breathing. You also learn that these physical states do not automatically lead to an anxiety attack.
- You reprogram the old cognitive assumption that anything that creates anxiety will lead to a doomed ending . . . and instead wire the brain to accept some levels of discomfort if you feel anxious without creating a worst case scenario.
- Physical activity helps your muscles relax, which lowers your likeliness to have an anxious response to smaller life stressors.
- Exercise creates calming chemical changes throughout your body. In a chain of reactions that includes liberating fatty acids, increasing concentrations of tryptophan, raising levels of BDNF (miracle grow for the brain), and ramping up serotonin, when we exercise, we calm down and feel an enhanced sense of safety.
All of this is to say that when you recently had an anxiety attack in the 14th minute of your 15 minute workout, although I know your experience was uncomfortable, I am so glad you experienced it while under my guidance. An event like that within a large group class context or the walls of a $30/month gym, could have left you never wanting to exercise again.
Instead, you came out the other side stronger than when you walked in my door. How? Because now you have an experience wired in your brain that tells you that an increased heart rate, and even some nausea, does not lead you directly to a heart-attack.
Being able to then sit down and discuss what happened was critical to reframing the episode from an awful event to one that sometimes happens to people when we exercise intensely. We learned that you need to keep your focus on high quality reps and not worry about matching the reps of your prior round. And perhaps most importantly, we learned that you are strong enough to come up to and then move through your discomfort . . . a discomfort that at one time the possibility of which would have kept you home.
Your text to me afterwards said everything:
"Thanks for your support and encouragement. Priceless."
Thank you C. for your confidence in the program. Your grit and resolve make you an asset to our community.