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Help for Anxiety, Phobias, OCD and Depression

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Regular Exercise

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How Exercise Can Help Anxiety and Depression


Exercise helps us to keep our bodies in good condition. As well as toning and strengthening the muscles it helps improve circulation and lower blood pressure. It can, however, place a great deal of stress and strain on the body and in order to counteract this the body produces its own stress-relieving chemicals such as endorphins (Morphine-related painkillers). These chemicals, produced to relieve the stresses and strains of exercise, act on the nervous system in general and help promote feelings of relaxation and well-being.

Numerous studies have shown the benefits of regular exercise in dealing with anxiety and depression problems. In many cases exercise helped just as much as, if not more than, medication.

Exercise is one way that we can physically make our nervous system work positively for us.


Exercise and Depression

Recent research has shown that exercise can provide relief from depression better than SSRI's (medication).

With depression we can come to feel that everything we do is hopeless and doomed to fail, so much so that we no longer try. Because of this our body stops producing energy and we get into a cycle of not doing things and having no energy to even try.

The more we do, the more energy our body produces to enable us to do it. (Exercising for one hour, though tiring, fills us with energy whilst lazing about makes us feel lethargic with no energy to do anything.) With exercise, we are doing something. At the level of our inner-self we are taking action and our body will now start to provide us with more energy naturally. Therefore, just performing exercise can actually help depression better than drugs. Experts have proved it in case after case. Similarly, countless studies show the benefits of exercise for anxiety.


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Anxiety:
"A state of uneasiness or tension caused by apprehension of possible misfortune, danger etc. " and to be anxious is to be "worried and tense."
(Collins English Dictionary)

Depression:
"A mental disorder characterised by feelings of gloom and inadequacy"
(Collins English Dictionary)

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More Resources:
Anxiety & Depression
Association of America

NHS -UK

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Exercise and Anxiety

Anxiety often leads to worrying. This again represents a form of inaction: something is making us anxious and we are not doing anything about, just worrying. In exercising we promote the feeling of actually doing something. It also provides an outlet for the build up of nervous energy.

For people with anxiety disorders, exercise can reduce their fears of anxiety-related body sensations such as a racing heart and rapid breathing. Especially good in the gym situation, the social aspect can lead to acceptance of these fears and body sensations around other people.

›› Exercising Regularly


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