Clinical Notes 4: Mental Health & Exercise For Anxiety

Feeling anxious? In our world of deadlines, distractions, and information overload, there are a few things that can help soothe feelings of anxiety …. keep on reading 🙂

What is Anxiety?

Just because I like being nerdy and geeky, I still want to do a bit of knowledge sharing (ok some stats) …

Did you know?

  • About 1 in 10 Canadians used health services for mood and anxiety disorders
  • Higher rates where used by adolescents, adult females, middle-aged, older adults, and individuals with chronic conditions (Statistics Canada)

Feeling worried is actually a normal part of living and life. Yet, sometimes the fear response gets turned up way too high, especially when nothing is presenting a real danger to us.

While seeing your family doctor, who may refer you to specialist counselling for mental health therapy, here are a few physical activity things you can do right away to regain control of your mind during moments of anxiety …

4 Simple Steps To Help Soothe Feelings Of Anxiety . . .

  • Breath In, Breath Out . . .

Breathing does happen automatically, like right now, yet you can also use your breathing (for example, blowing out candles) to help you out.

Feeling worried or stress can result in shallow, ineffective breaths and the mind will respond with that. By stimulating the vagus nerve with breathing deeply it can bring about a relaxation response …

Your turn …mental health, anxiety, exercise, the other pain clinic

      • Take a big breath in, feel the belly expand, lungs full of air
      • Hold on to the breath for 2 seconds
      • Breathe all the air out, in a relaxed, long way.
      • Repeat for 1 minute

See? Much better 🙂

  • Take A Walk . . .

Although this may not always be convenient to do right away, this aerobic rhythmic movement feels good for a few reasons like …

      • Help assess your nervous system response – a faster heart beat from moving and not high level of stress


  • Get Up, Stand Up . . .

Research from Australia has shown that sitting too long is linked to anxiety … so standing up here and there through the day has its positive side:

      • For the restless mind, it can provide a ‘refresh’ and interruption to the flow of anxious thoughts
      • And if your work or even studying is predominantly seated, setting an reminder i.e. an alarm to every 30 minutes to stand will be a good thing for the mind and body!


  • Just Do Something . . .

You have the power to break an anxious cycle, be it by some deep breathing, or even a brisk walk around the block. My challenge is to make sure you are not putting unrealistic expectations on yourself and thus creating more worry.

Start by adding just one thing to your day … maybe set aside some time for 1 minute of purposeful breathing, or a small 6 minute brisk walk.

By bringing awareness to the fact that you can choose to give power to worry or you can choose to move, you are ahead of the curve to self-care.


Clinical Notes 4 Summary:

So if exercise and physical activity was a pill for anxiety, how would you take it?

Yes, research does recommend 30 minutes, 3 times each week, and someone like me, a certified medical exercise specialist can also help with strategies to achieve this, but if it feels like too much, contact me to find a specific starting point for you or someone that you know who is looking to start using exercise as a way to manage anxiety.


Make your day an amazing day,


Founder & Chief Medical Exercise Specialist

p.s. Follow this blog post and The Other Pain Clinic Inc™  for its upcoming Mental Health 10 Step Challenge: First Steps To Self-Care Through Lifestyle Habits©

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