Ever since I was very young I have suffered from crippling anxiety. From test-stress to generalized anxiety I have always had trouble stopping myself from worrying and “stressing.” Over the years I have tried breathing exercises and meditation. However, the most effective treatment by far I have tried is working out. For me going to the gym was not originally about becoming fit, it was about finding a healthy outlet for stress relief. I remember my first month of college finding something new to worry about around every corner and seeing how this anxiety was effecting my concentration and classroom performance. One day I called my dad who told me to “go to the gym and run it out.” I did as he suggested, and now I’m hooked. I started out by going to the gym once or twice a week. I made sure that I worked out a day before an exam to lower my anxiety and immediately after the exam was over to clear my head. This method was so effective that I saw my test-stress diminish greatly. I began to go to the gym more frequently. Over the summer I began to go to the gym six-days a week leaving a day for recovery. I continued this schedule into this year and find that my anxiety levels have been diminished to much more manageable levels.
According to the Mayo Clinic exercise is effective for improving mood, reducing stress, improving sleep and much more. This seems to hold true for me as I have found that as I have become a “gym-rat” I no longer feel like a lab-rat running on a wheel. It’s funny how something so fun and physically rewarding can have such a drastically positive impact on ones mental health.
The best therapy for me is in the gym.