Today I got myself back to the gym. I’ve been trying to understand why exercise makes me feel bad, when everything I read or hear says it’s a first rate treatment for depression and anxiety, not to mention your health in general. But it makes me feel bad. But everyone and their dog are unlikely to be wrong. So.
My theory of the moment is that exercise causes me anxiety. Somehow while I’m exercising, I get into an anxiety cycle, which gets worse the longer I stay in it. My whole system is primed for anxiety in many many situations, so this is not totally surprising. So how to stop this cycle.
I’ve acquired an IPod, and I’m enjoying exercising to music.
But the main thing I think I need is awareness. I am so used to being anxious, I’m not often aware of how anxious I am. So today, I paid severe attention. I stayed with my breathing and stayed aware of how I was feeling. I started with only ten minutes of the striding machine (what the heck is it called?). And while I was striding, I listened to music with half my brain. The other half was paying attention – was I staying calm? It seemed that I was. I remind myself there is no danger here, no rush, no hurry. I’m just getting a tiny bit of exercise – no stress.
Then the weights – also really slowly, which is the way you’re supposed to do weights anyway. Being ultra calm.
I stopped whenever I felt the least impulse to do so. I looked around whenever I wanted. I did not compare myself to the lovely young twenty somethings in their skinny t-shirts.
So much focus on calmness was good I think. I’m feeling fairly OK this evening. I can feel that I worked out, but can still function pretty well.
I’m like the anti-fitness fanatic. I’m the anti-pusher. We’ll see if it works.
Image credit: www.familyfunfit.com/