Must-Read: Exercise Yourself Out of Anxiety
I don’t know if you’ve ever been involved in a particularly nasty breakup or other emotionally-stressful period in your life, but when that happens you just want to curl up in bed until four in the afternoon, or lie on the couch and just let the ridiculousness of Sportscenterreruns or one of those terrible cooking shows on The Food Network wash over you as you drown out your sorrows with the drone of doing absolutely nothing. The problem though is that getting through a depression or heavily anxious period like this actually does the opposite of helping. Instead of getting you out of your funk, if just puts you even deeper into it.
Which is why we’re highlighting this article over at AskMen.com today that delves into just why staying firmly on your ass and doing nothing does not help you get out of whatever terribly depressive state you’re in. Their reasoning:
In the old days, stress came from things like having a saber-toothed tiger wander into your cave. This was immediate, testicle-shriveling stress that kicked the flight or fight response into high gear. Adrenal hormones went berserk and you burned it off via valiant stabbing or cowardly fleeing.
Either way, the hormone surge was short-lived. Soon you’d be eating paleo by roasting up tiger steaks or muttering that you didn’t like that cave anyway and go off searching for a new abode to get your doggy style on. At least, that’s the one part I remember from that Quest For Fire movie.
Fast-forward to today, and the tigers have shorter teeth and are behind bars at the zoo. Now, we get stressed out by performance reviews with brain-dead bosses, layoffs, traffic jams, balancing checkbooks, and parent-teacher interviews. The stress is prolonged but still causes hormonal disruption, yet it’s not conducive to fighting or flighting. I mean, fleeing. Whatever.
Instead, you probably bitch at people and drink. This doesn’t help.
Indeed it doesn’t. Instead, when you’re feeling crazed or run down mentally, you have to strap on your running shoes, head on out to the gym or the nearby jogging trails, and just run yourself down physically. There are fewer better ways to get over your anxious moments then by working yourself to the physical bone.
About Rick Mosely Rick is the editor for TSB magazine.