One Simple Way to Ease Your Anxiety
The other day I was feeling pretty good. I was heading up to take a walk in the woods and was looking forward to spending some time in nature. However, as I got closer, my anxiety increased and the “what ifs” started to come into my brain. Should I be doing this? Maybe there are other, more important ways to spend my time? Don’t I have too much stuff to do? What if I get hurt? What if I run into someone dangerous? And on and on. I got to the parking lot and sat in the car, telling myself these thoughts weren’t rational, and if I wanted to turn back, I could at any time.
So, I started walking, but noticed I was looking around my shoulder and second guessing myself. I felt nervous and unsafe. Then, after a few minutes, the most amazing thing happened. My anxiety lessened. My thoughts changed. I started noticing the beauty around me and started thinking more positively. And I don’t even know why it happened. Except….walking!
Somehow the outdoor environment was helping my brain to unwind. The motion of walking was a distraction, and the increased blood flow was helping me to relax. Without even really trying, I was feeling better. I started thinking about the anxious thoughts I was having before, and they now felt totally minor.
The facts on exercise improving mental health has been backed up extensively by research, but you really need to feel it to believe it. Next time you’re feeling stressed or anxious, try taking a walk! The location doesn’t matter, as long as it feels calming to you. For some people, this is by the beach or on a trail. For others it is just walking around their neighborhood.
If this resonates with you, or if you’re interested in incorporating an element of walking into your therapy sessions, please give me call. I have seen and experienced firsthand what a difference it can make!