Emotional Stability through Fitness: Exercise As A Coping Mechanism During Dark Times

Emotional Stability through Fitness: Exercise As A Coping Mechanism During Dark Times

October 29, 2023 // Wellness

Regardless of where you reside in the world, no matter who [or what] you believe to be “right” or “wrong”, justified or not, there is no question that the current world affairs are unsettling.

In an age when news and opinion are available 24/7 with unlimited access and nearly no filter, it’s no surprise everyone is a bit more on edge at the moment.

Between anger and shock, sadness and pessimism, fear and uncertainty, a roller coaster of emotions are affecting most, if not everybody, in various ways and intensities.

With so much happening and so many possibilities to consider, the weight of it all can be crippling. In times like these, this is where having a physical outlet becomes so valuable.

Movement is medicine for the mind, body and soul.

A walk outside is easily one of the most effective ways to bring down the “noise” inside our heads and give us a bit of relief and maybe even some joy.

A run, swim, hike or even a bike ride can significantly elevate your optimism and confidence, giving you clearer perspective and a more constructive approach to complex matters.

A productive resistance training series or even a few rounds of H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training) can serve as a perfect vessel to expend a rush of adrenaline or anxiety, giving you a calmer environment with an increase in dopamine and serotonin (feel-good hormones), and a reduction in cortisol (internal stress hormone).

Whether it’s stretching or sweating, training or walking, low intensity or high intensity, use exercise as a coping mechanism. Now, more than ever, incorporate physical activity into your daily life. If you already have a routine, don’t abandon it – lean into it to help you get a grip on everything. If exercise isn’t a constant in your life, consider introducing something – anything – that’s within your abilities.

Go within nature. Explore local parks on your lunch break. Take a walk around town after dinner. Hike through the woods or stroll on the beach. Fresh air will always help any situation. Bring a friend or family member to relax together.

Give yourself permission to focus on your own needs, even while helping others deal with the current crises. A more grounded, level-headed version of you is going to be far more effective in handling the challenges of today and tomorrow.

So much of what we see, read and hear is largely out of our direct control. How we take care of ourselves, especially during dark periods like the current, is within our grasp and allows for the clearest interpretations, constructive conversations and overall readiness to handle the seemingly never-ending cycle of complex turmoil, tragedies and unraveling. You cannot control the events, but you can control your response(s).

With exercise as a coping mechanism, you heal yourself while also making yourself more available to your family, friends and community.

Just as directed during air travel, “in the event of an emergency, place your oxygen mask on first before helping others.”