A Surprising Remedy For Anxiety

What makes you most anxious—your finances, public speaking, expressing yourself in relationships, your health? We all have areas of life that put us on edge. There are many good strategies to use in those specific situations to handle how you feel. These include pre-planning, practice, and breaking these situations down into small doable actions that you can step into little by little.

Yet, what if your anxiety is more generalized? What if it comes up in many situations? In this article, we’ll explore a powerful practice that you might not associate with anxiety, but which can make a dramatic difference in how confident, relaxed, and empowered you feel in all situations in your life.

So, what is this surprising remedy and how does it work?

The answer is strength training. That’s right, strength training, as in lifting weight. Now, before you shake your head, let me explain.

When you practice strength training, your muscles begin to strengthen in the first few weeks and this increased strength makes you feel stronger emotionally as well. Strength training is also progressive. You get stronger and stronger the more you do it. You can very tangibly mark your progress as you are able to lift heavier weights and/or do more sets and repetitions. This is powerful positive reinforcement that makes you feel good about what you’re doing.

When you feel stronger, you feel more capable. In contrast, when you are anxious, you feel like you might not be up to the challenges you face. Feeling stronger gives you a generalized feeling of strength that translates into empowerment.

Strength training is also a routine that you can learn to rely on. It gives you predictable and repeatable results, which is emotionally satisfying and comforting. You feel more control in your life, when you know you can practice your routine and get reliable results. These results include not only changes in your muscle tone and strength, but also in your brain and body chemistry.

A good strength training workout releases endorphins which help you relax and feel positive. Strength training has also been shown to stimulate neuro-genesis in your brain—in other words, it promotes the production of new brain cells. These new brain cells expand the neural connections in your brain, which help you see new possibilities and learn new skills. For example, some of my best writing comes right after a good workout—and I often get some of my best inspirations and problem solutions during or after my physical training.

By focusing on feeling the muscles that you are working, strength training becomes a meditation. It trains your mind to focus, be present in your body, and let go of other distractions. This is a powerful skill that you can apply when you are feeling anxious. You can focus on being present in the actions you’re taking and watch your anxious feelings fade to the background. Have you noticed that once you’re involved in doing something you get in the flow and your anxiety dissolves?

Now, you might have an idea that strength training is for athletes or bodybuilders and that it takes hours and is very hard work. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. You can get good results from doing a few exercises, for a few minutes, just a few times per week.

The key is to do exercises that involve your whole body and do the exercises to the point where you feel your muscles working and you feel yourself breathing deeply. This tells you that you’re putting some pressure on your muscles and bones, so they will respond by getting stronger. As you get stronger muscles and bones, you’ll not only be healthier and feel better, you’ll stand more upright and look better, too. This will give your confidence another boost.

Here are a couple simple exercises to get you started:

1. Squat down as deeply as you can, while keeping your feet flat on the ground and raising your arms up overhead. Do 1-3 sets, of 8-15 repetitions, 3 times per week. You can make this more challenging by holding hand weights.

2. Hold the top of a pushup position with your arms and body straight while raising one leg, then the other, a few inches off the ground. Do 1-3 sets, of 8-15 repetitions, with each leg, 3 times per week.

Once you get started and begin to feel stronger, you may want to learn more exercises and vary your routine. This will make things more interesting and be even more effective. Strength training is a great example of how you can use your body to shift how you think and feel.

I’d love to hear your favorite strengthening exercises in the Comments below.

P.S. Take this free Holistic Fitness Quiz to learn more tips on how fitness training can positively shift how you think and feel!

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NEW VIDEO: One Child’s Clear View Of “Abundance” (Inspiring)

A friend just sent me a beautiful video that took my breath away….

It begins when a teacher asks her children, what are “The 7 Wonders of The World”? I think you’ll love this child’s wonderful answer —

Go here to see this inspiring video >

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See the ‘7 Wonders of The World’ video here >


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Energy Booster #6: Surprising Tips for Better Sleep

In today’s post, we’ll explore 9 tips for getting better sleep. Some of these may surprise you.

You probably know from personal experience that getting sufficient sleep is essential to feel on the top of your game. Did you also know that deep sleep is essential for immune function, nerve regeneration, genetic repair processes, and consolidation of experiences and learning from the day?

There are several stages of sleep, with deeper sleep, called Stages 3 and 4, being responsible for much of the regenerative work. The first five hours of sleep appear to be most critical and sleep researchers call this period “core sleep.” Paradoxically, if you are experiencing a great deal of stress and need that deep recuperation, your body may be swimming in neuro-chemicals that keep you from getting extended periods of deep sleep.

To help you get to sleep easier and more deeply here are some tips suggested by John B. Arden, PhD, in his book, “Rewire Your Brain:

9 Tips for Better Sleep

1. Save your bedroom for sleep and sex. Take out the TV, as the light, sounds, and images can stimulate your brain in way that makes it harder to fall asleep and less likely to get into deep sleep.

2. Avoid bright light or computer work for a few hours before going to sleep as the light can disrupt your natural circadian rhythms.

3. Do all your next day planning before you go to bed, so you don’t lay awake thinking about what you’ll need to do.

4. Eat a light snack of complex carbohydrates instead of heavy fats and proteins if you are eating within a couple hours of sleep.

5. Exercise in the afternoon or 3-6 hours before going to sleep as this initiates a natural recovery mode that is conducive to sleep.

6. Avoid alcohol within five hours before going to sleep as this inhibits deep sleep and often leads to waking in the middle of the night.

7. Avoid caffeine after mid-day.

8. Keep your bedroom temperature cool, as overheating can keep your body awake.

9. Practice guided relaxation or meditation before going to sleep.

Happy slumber,

Kevin Schoeninger

P.S. For tips on simple, relaxing, and effective meditation check out “Secrets of Meditation

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