Feeling anxious is a perfectly normal feeling, is in the body’s reaction to a situation that could be dangerous. But feeling anxious isn’t something we should feel all the time.
Anxiety is among the most common mental health problem in the UK and the number of people suffering is increasing. According to a Mental Health Foundation survey, 1 in 5 people feel anxious ‘nearly all the time’ or ‘a lot of the time’.
With world mental health day on Saturday we have thought about the fact that 1 in 4 people with experience mental health problems each year and how we can help manage symptoms.
We previously reported on DRT (Dynamic Running Therapy) and how it has focused on being outside and the release of endorphins. Endorphins are often described as ‘mood boosting chemicals that can reduce stress’ and fitness blogger and trainer Zanna Van Dijk says “These endorphins make you feel good about yourself, give you a more positive outlook, and reduce pain” However Professor Poloum, head of psychology at Bournemouth University says “You have to be patient with endorphins – for me they only kick in after about 40 minutes of running”
But there are a whole range of other benefits that directly impact your mind, from increased core temperature – basically getting sweaty – that Prof Polman says “has some evidence to suggest that this also results in reducing mental health symptoms,” to lowering blood pressure and improved sleep patterns, something I’ve definitely noticed as I’ve upped my exercise. And as Prof Polman says, “Insomnia and other sleep problems are related to poor mental health,” – it’s hard to remain upbeat when you’re counting the minutes you’ve actually been asleep.
Lena Dunham, who has openly talked about her struggles with mental health, summed it up neatly on her Instagram page a while ago: “To those struggling with anxiety, OCD, depression: I know it’s mad annoying when people tell you to exercise, and it took me about 16 medicated years to listen. I’m glad I did. It ain’t about the ass, it’s about the brain.”