Calming MY Anxious Mind: Faith & Fitness

For many years, I battled with worry and anxiety, and against the notion that fitness is a essential to living a healthy life. As I have gotten older, I realize that I cannot out-exercise a horrible diet, nor can I solely rely on half-healthy eating sans exercise to be at my best. Exercise combined with proper nutrition go hand in hand when it comes to reaching optimal health, but most importantly, faith in Christ is what completes me keeps me sane.

For many years past, I dealt with seasonal depression and anxiety, and basically went each day hoping that the next day was better than the previous not actually seeking help. I recently (late August 2015) began my fitness journey with a personal trainer which helped catapult me in a new direction of living. One of the first things I immediately noticed was less moments feeling anxious, worried and depressed. Earlier this week, there was a day that I hadn’t worked out in a few days and I was starting to feel stressed and extremely irritable (Aunt Flo recently left the scene). I went to the gym and 15 minutes into my work out, my thoughts were clearer, I was calm, and later that night, I slept like a baby. According to Webmd.com‘s article on “Exercise and Depressions,” exercising releases chemicals called endorphins that reduce our perception of pain as well as triggers a positive feeling in the body, similar to the effects of morphine. There’s no wonder why exercise is sometimes prescribed by psychologist as a natural means of coping with depression and anxiety. I can honestly vouch that it is working for me. My only regret is not working out sooner.

Another way that I have been dealing with anxiety and the many stresses that comes with it is by prayer and praising God, as well as meditating on the Word of God. I praise while exercise as a form of thanksgiving unto God. There are many people who wish they could exercise and physically take care of the temple God has given them, but are bed bound. There are many people with physical disabilities and limitations who are forced to put forth much more effort than I in order to maintain good health. How ungrateful would it be of me not to thank Him for the opportunity to move freely and with good health every time that I work out. My work outs allow free time to mediate on God’s Word while listening to my bible app via headphones. Praising God is my number one anxiety defeater. Isaiah 61:3 speaks on “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…” I can attest that before I even knew that verse existed, I would praise God whenever anxiety and depression had me feeling like death was imminent and I could not go on. Before I was done praising God, I would feel renewed and my mind would be calmed.

I have to be intentional in both my walk with Christ as well as my physical fitness journey. Anytime I get lax and begin slacking, the worries of life try to creep their ugly heads in, but I have a tried and true way of fighting back against it. FYI, I try my best to chronicle my journey via this blog and other medium such as YouTube and my Instagram page. You can view more via those links. 

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