Fit for Life: Action Beats Anxiety
Saturday, December 22, 2018
Matt Espeut, GoLocalWorcester Health +Lifestyle Contributor
The other day an old friend sent me a message and said that he wanted to talk to me about an article that I wrote a while back.
The article was about anxiety, and how many of us live with it and need to deal with it on a daily basis.
We are approaching the holidays and I know that this time of year is supposed to bring joy and cheer, however, many people fall into a depression, and suffer from anxiety even more.
Therefore, I felt it was important to touch on the topic again, and hopefully help a few people with their thought process, so they can flip the switch and find happiness during this holiday season.
He made a statement during our conversation that really stuck in my head and gave me the incentive to write this article.
The reason that he wanted to talk with me was because I came out and publicly admitted that I deal with anxiety on a daily basis, and that he was embarrassed to talk with anyone about it.
It’s a guy thing, we both admitted, and guys are supposed to be tough and not disclose what we are thinking or feeling. Society has put a label on us that we are supposed to be tough and resilient and be exempt from any mental weaknesses that could cause us to feel a certain way.
Well, I am here to tell you that it’s not wrong to discuss feelings and issues. Guys or not, we are human and shouldn’t walk around wearing a mask to hide behind when we are feeling down and mentally weak.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not telling guys to become extra emotional, host pajama parties, and cry at chick flicks with your girlfriends, however I want to encourage everyone, guys included to discuss issues and feelings that bother you or hold you back from happiness. One of the worst things you can do is isolate yourself, and keep it bottled up.
I have read several books on this issue, and although this doesn’t make me an expert, it has given me some tools that I can share with you and help you on your journey to fighting anxiety.
In the book Unstoppable, by Craig Ballentyne he writes: Unfortunately, anxiety is like a black box. You can’t explain it to yourself, and worse, you can’t explain it to others. It’s not like having a broken arm, it doesn’t show any visible symptoms, nor is it something someone that doesn’t have anxiety can understand.
It happens to many successful people that appear to have everything going for them, so on the outside, people think “His life is great, so what could be bothering him? What does he have to be anxious about?”
The truth is, many with anxiety (myself included) tend to fabricate thoughts in their head that ignites anxiety.
We are always thinking worst case scenarios, and the “what if’s” start to fester and cause that uneasy feeling.
I have a great business with fantastic members, a great girlfriend, an awesome team of people working for me, a decent house, and a nice truck, yet my thoughts still go on the dark side from time to time.
That’s why it’s important for me to journal on a daily basis, and remind myself that I am ok, there is nothing wrong with me, and it’s time to refocus, count the victories, and write several things I am grateful for.
It is also good to get around people and have conversations. When you are asking people about them, and what good stuff is going on in their lives, you tend to forget why you were feeling anxious in the first place and start feeling better immediately.
Another trigger for some people is comparison syndrome. They see people on Facebook living the life and get depressed that it’s not them. Or their neighbor has a nicer house and car than them, or better job than them.
Yes, some people have better lives than you and some have it worse, however you need to realize that material things won’t make us whole. I personally don’t care about that stuff anymore.
My philosophy is that if I want that stuff, I have the ability to work harder to achieve it. Many people with these things are unhappy, and deal with anxiety too, so understand that material things won’t cure anything, and will sometimes put more pressure on you to maintain that lifestyle.
Appreciate what you have today, and don’t worry about what you want tomorrow.
In my opinion, the biggest trigger in today’s society is becoming overwhelmed, and allowing too many things to pile up on our plates.
We make to do lists that are unreasonable and unattainable, therefore causing us to stress ourselves out for no good reason. I have found it useful to make lists, then put the 3 most important tasks on the top every day. Things that are a priority and that only you can do.
Everything else can either wait until later, or if completed a day late won’t matter. This will help you become more efficient with your time and help reduce some of the stress a huge task list will cause.
Make sure that self-care is on the top of that list. When you neglect yourself, things will only get worse. Get a workout in and eat healthy food that will make you feel physically strong and mentally alive.
Work on your movements and breathing and you will feel better instantly. Instead of lying in bed, get up and start moving.
Trust me, when you are in a session at Providence Fit Body Boot Camp, the last thing that you will be feeling is anxiety.
So, don’t let the holiday season add to your stress and anxiety.
This is supposed to be a joyous time to indulge in some good company, food and drink. It doesn’t matter who bought what for who, or what material things someone is getting.
Retail shopping will be there all year long, but the good feelings that we get inside from the spirit of the season, will only last a short time, so enjoy your family and friends and cherish the moment.
I have 2 recommended reads for anyone that has bouts with anxiety;
1. Unstoppable by Craig Ballantyne
2. From Panic to Power by Lucinda Bassett
Wishing you a joyous and stress-free holiday season,
Matt Espeut, GoLocal's Health & Lifestyle Contributor has been a personal trainer and health & fitnesss consultant for over 25 years. He is the owner of Fitness Profiles, a one on one, and small group personal training company, as well as Providence Fit Body Boot Camp, located at 1284 North Main St., on the Providence/Pawtucket line. You can reach Matt at (401) 453-3200; on Facebook at "Matt Espeut", and on Twitter at @MattEspeut. "We’re all in this life together – let’s make it a healthy one.