"To keep the body in good health is a duty... otherwise, we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear." - Buddha.
Exploring an approach that closely intertwines our physical and mental well-being is a path well-traveled, echoed in various teachings and religious texts throughout history.
Our body is like a medium to communicate with the world, while our mind acts as a keen observer. To navigate the obstacles of the outside world, it’s essential to keep our mind and body healthy and in sync. With a world as fast-paced as ours, anxiety is an all too familiar problem. The good news is that people experiencing it can benefit from activities like meditation and exercise. In fact, the two might be particularly beneficial when done in tandem. How so? This blog post will tell you all you need to know to keep anxiety at bay.
It all starts with physiology. The exact physiological principles that lead to positive feelings of excitement, a surge of adrenaline, an increased heartbeat, and a sense of butterflies have the same base as anxiety - it all depends on the amount of physiological excitement we are experiencing. We can use this information to train our brain and body to tackle anxiousness using meditation and exercise.
Benefits of Meditation
Meditation acts as an anchor to keep us grounded and can help to reduce overthinking. It teaches us to be more present with ourselves, with acceptance and without judgment. This can be really effective for alleviating feelings of anxiety in the moment. For example, many of the world’s great athletes experience performance anxiety. Under harsh pressure, most athletes’ performance suffers but the elite athletes, including Lebron James and Serena Williams, have learned to overcome it. It just so happens that many of these great athletes also integrate meditation into their own training. We can learn from them by starting off with guided meditation, and then slowly exploring different meditation types that best fit our individual needs. Not all brains are alike, so being patient and consistent is key.
Benefits of Exercise
What meditation does for the mind, exercise does for the body. Working out can be a great way to unwind and refocus. This is because it boosts the release of feel-good chemicals (endorphins), which calm down our nervous system. We can achieve this through a structured training regiment (for example, five days a week for 30 minutes), even though other forms of movement are beneficial too. A simple cardio or circuit workout can do wonders for both mental health and physical health, and there is a wealth of knowledge online to help ease the fear of injury and improve workout form.
Meditation and Exercise Connection
Even elite athletes who exercise for several hours a day can still suffer from anxiety, so meditation can be used as a supplement to reduce their performance anxiety. People like this who are already on a path of physical fitness can make use of meditation to enhance concentration, focus, and sense of calm. On the other hand, someone adept at meditation could make use of the rush of endorphins that exercise brings.
Ultimately, working out and practicing meditation can alleviate anxiety in the moment, as well as boost our confidence, which helps with tackling long-term anxiety. In a world full of complexities, simplifying our thoughts through such simple habits is a must, especially for those of us most wanting to overcome our anxieties and fears.