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Anxiety Busters: Sunshine & Sweat

Good Morning! How was your last week? Did you utilize the "two truths" tip to help shift your thinking to a more compassionate and gentle approach? Let me know in the comments below how that tip worked for you.


Our third anxiety buster tip involves two things: sunshine and sweat. Anxiety is typically physiological and emotional, meaning lots of people know they are feeling anxious when their body tells them so. Our bodies, when anxious, will exhibit any number of physical sensations: racing heartbeat, rapid breaths, stomach pains, diarrhea, excess sweat or mouth dryness. These are all due to your sympathetic nervous system activating. Here's an interesting article on the purpose and function of your sympathetic nervous system. It basically activates all the parts of your body needed in order for you to fight or evade a potential threat (a.k.a. the fight or flight response). The trouble with the anxious brain is that it perceives 'everything is a threat,' so the sympathetic nervous system is sent into overdrive. So, how do we combat this seemingly automatic response system within our bodies?



We utilize exercise (sweat) and nature (sunshine) to turn on our parasympathetic nervous system, which acts as the 'rest and digest' system. This is only part of the solution to reducing anxiety, but it is a HUGE part. I believe the reason we feel so exhausted, depleted, worried and tense is because modern life demands that our sympathetic nervous system be on all. the. time. Think about it: our news cycle is 24/7 (see here about using a news diet to manage your anxiety), we work jobs that are menial and have little physical reward, and we are surrounded by so much information that the brain cannot process it all. Yes, we are evolved creatures with big brains that can handle a lot. However, we are not computers and we do need resets from time to time. Thus, the practice of adding in exercise (cardiovascular and weight-bearing if possible) and time in nature to combat the ever constant hum of anxiety in our minds and bodily systems.


You can start small. Sitting outside for 15 minutes per day with your face in the sunshine can give you the equivalent of a daily dose of Vitamin D, as well as boosting your serotonin levels naturally. Exercise also boosts endorphins, which are the feel good chemicals in your brain, thus the 'sweat' part of this anxiety busters equation. If you're feeling wild, you can combine your sunshine and sweat challenges into one 15 minute walk outside daily. Try this everyday for 3 weeks and let me know how it works for you! It helps some people to rate their anxiety on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being really high, both before and then directly after their sunshine/sweat time.


See you next week with our final anxiety buster tip! I can't wait to connect and hear about how this anxiety busters series has been helpful for you. As always, you can reach me at info@giftofgritcounseling.com, if you are interested in connecting about possible therapy treatment with me.


Take care of yourself and those within your circle,




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