Exercise can help beat fear, anxiety and trauma
Exercise can help you overcome fear, stress, and anxiety. Life is a marathon race and not a sprint. Research indicates that less than 5% of adults spend 30 active minutes moving every day. Obesity, depression and unprocessed trauma can be conquered in part through being physically active.
Learning to get active through exercise
I’ve been on a learning journey over the past few years. Firstly, I realized that stress and pain affect us all, but those who bounce back are the ones that confront the unhealthy patterns, fears and hurt in their lives. They address the root causes, come up with a plan to overcome, Specifically, these people don’t just think about it, they act on it. They implement a plan of action. With this purpose in mind, I set to work.
Change and trauma are stressful.
Change brings about its stress. Our family moved to a new city a few years ago to lead a missions organization. A year or so into the new venture, my daughter and I were in an armed robbery. There is pain that wounds so profoundly that it does not show any physical bleeding or evidence.
Trauma was like an earthquake in my life
That experience rocked our lives so vehemently that it took me three years to overcome. I was shocked at the aftermath and the ripple effects. Much like an earthquake, the secondary effects were worse. In an earthquake, people experience ground shaking, ground rupture, landslides, tsunamis, and liquefaction. However, fires and the subsequent devastation are longer lasting secondary effects. We felt the devastation in our family and our lives after the armed robbery.
I learned that trauma leaves a handprint on one’s brain and if left undealt, then it could rear its ugly head months and even decades later. That one crucial lesson moved me to deal with the spirit of fear that resonated its aftermath in my mind and body. Fear is a paralyzing force. Full stop. If left unchecked, it will infiltrate your entire life and affect your relationships, your work, your joy and your capacity to live fully alive.
Our body responds to our feelings.
One of the ways I learned to overcome fear was to understand how my body responded to fear. Increased adrenaline, cortisol levels as well as reduced serotonin and endorphins led to tiredness, hyperalertness, poor sleep patterns, and short-term memory loss.
After counseling and research, I discovered that walking, sleeping, and exercise had more benefits that I could ever have imagined. I embarked on a learning journey.
“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary. The people we trust with that important talk can help us know that we are not alone.” Fred Rogers
A pattern for healing from fear, pain, and trauma
Firstly, I started by being very kind to myself. I did this by establishing a pattern of relaxing before I went to bed. I paid attention to what I watched on television, spoke about and ate. Then, I permitted myself to make mistakes and to try again. Consequently, kindness grew. After that, I allowed myself to rest during the day if I slept particularly poorly due to nightmares.
Resting well led to walking that led to running.
My husband and I started walking around our neighborhood — little steps. I started running again when I felt stronger. Too much adrenaline over extended periods makes one feel sluggish. The key to reducing this in my body was a multi-faceted approach. One was to begin exercising harder. Running harder and getting my heart-rate up.
I am thankful for the voices encouraging me to pursue healing in my life. If you struggle with fear, anxiety or stress, then consider a multi-faceted approach to dealing with your battles. Download ‘The best reasons to get moving’ free PDF to motivate you. If you need to see a doctor first, then do so by all means. Do what you need to do to seek health and healing.
Model a healthy and healed lifestyle for your family
Get moving and model a healthy lifestyle for your children. They will thank you for it later on and so too will your older self. When you start exercising don’t be surprised at your increased joy, resilience and capacity. Fearless in your pursuit of healing, exercise is a great companion. Start moving today.
She will be running a half-marathon this weekend with a friend and a smile on her face. You can follow her journey here. Mandi is also a Balega Impi Team Ambassador for 2019. If she can overcome fear and embrace new challenges, then you can too. One step at a time is all it takes.
Mandi will be releasing her book on how to conquer fear later on this year. Sign up here to find out more.
She is looking for people to join her launch team. If you are keen, please send her an email telling her that its something you would be interested in being part of later on during 2019.