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ZEN Rituals: Physical Exercise for Anxiety

29 Apr 2018


Find the people who make you feel strong." Sarah Polacco


Anxiety is a real issue for so many people today. It can be triggered on the mental, physical, and emotional levels. Quite often, it ends up with the person going through it feeling out of control, and as if there is something "wrong" with them.


In cases of past or current trauma, or chronic stress in life and work, there may well be a need for therapeutic interventions for mental and emotional balance. Once balance is re-established, mental performance coaching skills can offer more options for resilience.


Physical interventions based on fitness or other kinds of movement can also have a powerful impact for prevention, mitigation, and recovery. Everything from restorative yoga and dance to weightlifting and martial arts can strengthen the person's inner and outer resources.


This podcast by Sarah Polacco, a strength coach, covers her anxiety, and how she uses fitness to maintain and regain balance. A strong body really does provide a better container for a strong mind. It's not about winning competitions. It's about tapping into your own best self.



Do you struggle with or experience anxiety?


If you do, know that you aren't alone. Modern life is demanding these days. Whether you're a teenager maxed out on exams, a new graduate looking for work, or transitioning in and out of jobs, the pressure is real. And that's before any crisis or trauma hits, and turns our lives upside down.


Physical fitness is important for our overall health, however it is just as important to find a teacher or instructor, and an approach that work for you. It isn't enough to say "yoga helps" or "martial arts is the cure". Do your research, try out different classes, and find out for yourself what really works. 


While physical fitness may help, it may not be enough to alleviate all of your anxiety. You may need to work with a therapist to uncover deeper rooted patterns, and reset and rewire. You may also find good reasons to be anxious that point to your environment, and a need to make big changes.


Wherever your anxiety stems from, don't give up. Look for positive role models who speak out openly on the topic, and try to reframe irrational or old fears when you're ready. Experiencing trauma in my teenage years led to plenty of anxiety for me but I use that energy to fuel me forwards and grow.



ZEN Rituals is a blog series by Claire Higgins on how to handle challenges that many of us encounter on a frequent basis, or from time to time. It looks at the healing potential of mind, body, heart, and spirit, and explores ways of bridging and activating Eastern and Western sources of wisdom to cultivate positive emotions and inner peace.

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