"3 MILLION AUSTRALIANS ARE LIVING WITH DEPRESSION OR ANXIETY"
So you should never feel alone. We have all been there at some stage of our lives with varying degrees of severity. I've even experienced depression and anxiety a few years ago and in my younger years.
When you work with people as a professional sometimes you need to put on a front. Especially in my industry where there is a lot of pressure to be "perfect" so to say. I've definitely had my fair share of hard times and often fought an internal battle on my own for fear of being seen as weak or unprofessional in front of my clients and friends.
After doing fitness model competitions and really putting my body through the ringer with extreme dieting and extreme exercising my hormones, body & immune system were all out of whack with symptoms including anxiety and depression. For someone like me who is a glass half full kind of girl I wasn't really sure what was wrong with me and why I was feeling so down. There was no particular reason for it, I just did. The one thing that I didn't feel like doing during this time was exercise. The last thing on my mind, was that. I had just put myself through a really strict 16 week training regime that had me exercising for sometimes up to 3 hours per day and on a very strict diet for that entire time. It was a lot of pressure and my body just wanted a break. My mind needed a break.
So I rested & detoxed my body allowing it to recover but I had noticed that because I wasn't exercising hardly, if at all my usual positive mentality was no longer really there. I didn't really feel like myself. Unmotivated, low in energy, poor self-esteem due to not exercising, feeling down and not wanting to exercise at all. I had lost my mojo. I also experienced quite severe anxiety being unable to leave my house at times. Even simple things like going to work and grocery shopping became a very big struggle. The worst thing I did at that time though was to internalise it, pretending everything was ok and also allowing myself to give in to it by not moving my body. Exercise was the one thing that would have helped me and later it did. Yes sure my body needed rest but things like walking outdoors, yoga and stretching all have a great effect on your body and mind even when your body needs rest. Exercise does not always have to be strenuous.
When I finally started to slowly exercise again I felt my old self coming back. My positive energy came back, my motivation increased, I felt happy again and my anxiety just disappeared. There is something to be said about the positive effects exercise can have on you not just physically but mentally as well. I see it in my clients all the time. I've seen them transform from unhappy, unmotivated, poor self-esteem to happy, motivated and high energy people.
In what ways can exercise help with depression and anxiety?
- Releases the feel good hormone endorphins. These help to ease depression and makes you feel good.
- Reduces immune system chemicals. These chemicals can actually make depression worse.
- Cope with stress and anxiety in a healthy way. Doing something positive to cope with stress and tension is much better than trying to feel better with the help of alcohol, drugs or even self-loathing.
- Take your mind of your worries. Any release of tension gives your body and mind a break. A positive distraction can actually take you away from the negative cycle of thinking that can snowball anxiety and depression and make it worse.
- Gives you more confidence. Not only in yourself and your appearance but in your ability to set goals, overcome challenges and achieve them. It gives you a feeling of having faith in your own ability to be able to accomplish and overcome anything.
- Social interaction. Sometimes exercise groups, classes and personal training gives you a chance to meet new people and not feel so alone.
The worst thing you can do for yourself is to sit around with your negative thoughts and overthinking. When you get up and get moving you make your body feel good which will put you in a better mood.
If you really are going through a tough time and you need someone to talk to call beyond blue 1300224636 by talking it about it you take the first step to healing and getting back to your old self.
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