Have you ever tried to “get back in shape?” Hard, isn’t it? I’m getting back in shape after a long period of being a lazy couch potato, and let me tell you, it’s frustrating. In fact, it’s a lot like recovering from anxiety. Even though I’ve BEEN in really good shape two or three times in my life, age and a sedentary lifestyle caught up with me and I’m really having to push myself to accomplish my fitness goals.
One thing I’m doing to get fit again is weight lifting. I LOVE lifting weights! Nothing else in the world makes me feel better than getting a good pump going.
But my enthusiasm outstripped my good sense at the gym the other day and I pulled a muscle in my back. As I hobbled into the locker room, it dawned on me that recovering from anxiety and lifting weights have a lot in common.
Some things recovering from anxiety and weight lifting have in common:
- They both require time and commitment. Getting buff doesn’t happen overnight, and it isn’t magic. It takes hard work and dedication. Freeing yourself from chronic anxiety also isn’t magic. It’s a process of facing and overcoming your fears, whether it’s driving anxiety, social anxiety, agoraphobia or any other kind of anxiety.
- Both require you to push your limits. Ever heard that saying, “no pain, no gain?” It’s very true. Building muscle requires you to push past the point of comfort. Recovering from anxiety and building confidence means learning how to handle situations that make you want to run away.
- They’re both easier to keep than they are to acquire. It’s a lot easier to STAY in shape than it is to GET in shape. Maintaining good fitness requires far less work than getting fit. Similarly, once you’ve mastered your anxiety, staying on top of it is relatively easy. It’s the mastering part that takes so much damn work!
- Both are totally worth it in the end. Even though I’m taking Advil for my back right now, I know I’ll be back at the gym in a couple of days. This feeling of well-being I’m getting from getting in shape is worth the temporary discomfort I have today. And when I look back on what my life was like when I was ruled by driving anxiety, I know the hard work I’ve done to recover was worth it. Facing my fears and getting on with life is the best thing I ever did.
Whether you’re recovering from anxiety or getting fit, it’s all about keeping yourself moving forward. It doesn’t matter how small the steps are, as long as those steps are headed in the right direction. Even baby steps are fine, because babies eventually learn to run. I’m going to keep hitting the gym and lifting weights, and I hope you make the commitment to start recovering from your anxiety today. It really does get easier the more you do it.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go take some more Advil…