Something I was thinking about the other day was how little anxiety is touched on in regards to health and fitness.
Yes, we speak of stress and it’s affects on the brain as well as the body – but I don’t think I’ve even mentioned anxiety. Which to be honest blows my mind because this is HUGE, something myself and majority of clients struggle with. This hits home for me because it used to be that every time I made a decision, whether in regards to my fitness or life in general, I would feel this overwhelming cloud of anxiety overtake my life.
For years I put off making any lasting changes because I was not ready to confront my anxiety. I didn’t want to attempt to change anything about myself, because I was so paralyzed by the fear of failure. I was literally avoiding LIVING MY LIFE because of it. I look back now and honestly feel the pain of loss for the years of my life I was unaware of this, where I let what could have been some amazing times instead pass me by.
I’m writing about this because it is STILL something I deal with on a daily basis, but I have reached the point where the ‘overwhelm’ of it has disappeared for the most part. I feel it’s my duty to bring this issue to light, especially regarding health and nutrition – because many people don’t factor this in.
There is anxiety around all corners of fitness, here are some I commonly see/have experienced…
- the anxiety around eating ‘perfectly’ even though that doesn’t exist
- the anxiety around trying a new way of training/expanding your perception of fitness
- the anxiety around setting a competitive fitness goal
- the anxiety around trying a new group class or hard workout
- the anxiety around being generally prepared for the coming week (meal prep/etc)
- the anxiety around social events because you don’t know how to eat
- the anxiety around vacations because what will you do about your food and workouts?!
- the anxiety around getting into a relationship because how could they understand your life?
- the anxiety of not being good enough
Of course this goes so much deeper, these were just the ones that come to mind first. But as you can see there are ALOT of things that trigger anxiety in regards to health. So now I’m sure you’re wondering…
Okay cool yes I agree, but what do I do about it?!
Steps to Overcoming Anxiety
Resist the urge to run and avoid – when you are feeling anxious about a situation or possible outcome, the best thing you can do for yourself is FIGHT. Your body is literally entering the ‘Fight or Flight’ mode when you are experiencing high levels of anxiety and you need to train it to remain calm and enter the situation. Each time you practice this, the situation will trigger less and less anxiety until it is completed eliminated. (Example: eating out – that was a huge one for me in the last year)
Commit and figure the rest out later – I see it a lot, someone is nervous about trying a something new like joining a gym, signing up for a competition, or getting a coach, so they just delay and avoid. Well this turns into a vicious cycle that leaves you immobile and unhappy. Say yes, join the gym, pay for the competition – figure out how you’re going to handle it LATER. Your anxiety will not go away until you face it head on and do the hard thing. Accountability is key.
Fill your head and life with positive words – I’ll be preaching self-help books and cheesy quotes until the day I die because they freakin’ work!! It’s not enough to go through the motions, you must literally reprogram your brain to not be anxious. You need to fill your head with so much knowledge, inspiration, and stories of WINNERS that you literally have no time to consider the possibility of failure. If you believe you can overcome any person place or situation, than you become unstoppable and the anxiety has no food to feed on, your strong sense of self belief starves it out.
Question your thoughts – you don’t have to believe everything that you think. Seriously, just observe some of the craziness that goes on in your mind and realize that it’s not your obligation to put meaning to any of it. Sometimes I will literally realize what I was thinking and then proceed to think the thought…
‘Wow that was kind of insane what the heck’
Just because thoughts that trigger anxiety enter your mind, doesn’t mean that you need to validate them. I like to see these thoughts as my enemy and I visually crush them in my mind. It sounds ridiculous but hey it works!