Unhealthy Body, Unhealthy Mind

Be Happy – The Anxiety Secrets You Need to Know...

Step 1. Select Which Type of Anxiety You Suffer With

At a time when there are designer drugs and therapies for pretty much every disorder and ailment, the number of people suffering from anxiety is rocketing. We are now twenty time more likely to suffer from anxiety than we were 70 years ago. So what’s gone so drastically wrong? There is no one single cause of anxiety, but one of the biggest is quite simply we are too physically inactive. Let me explain…

Millions of years of evolution have fine-tuned our bodies for “hunting and gathering.” As little as two thousand years ago the majority of us were still huntergatherers. Our ancestors would spend much of their lives foraging for fruit and nuts or chasing wild animals for meat. They had no choice “physical activity was a way of life; without it they wouldn’t get food.

From the twentieth century on, things began to change. TV sets and comfy sofas have become the norm, cars transport us around, labor-saving devices and power tools are common place. We don’t even have to leave the house in order to stock up on food anymore thanks to the internet. Physically, life is easier than it has ever been in human history. Now we only have to trundle a few meters to the fridge to get our nourishment, exercise is no longer needed to survive day to day. But this comes at a cost…

Mental problems, mood disorders including anxiety and panic, substance abuse, obesity, immobility in the later years of our lives, and premature death from heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and cancer are all on the rise. Physical activity is known to ward off and help prevent all of these conditions. Is it any coincidence that since the war people have become more sedentary, and at the same time mood disorders have risen, in almost direct relation? Studies have shown that people born after 1950 are ten to 20 times more likely to suffer from mood disorders.

A massive study done in the U.K. surveyed over 15,000 people, showing that those who exercised had much greater feelings of emotional well-being than those who didn’t.8 In an even bigger study carried out on 55,000 people in the U.S. and Canada, the scientist Thomas Stephens wrote:

“The inescapable conclusion of this study is that the level of physical activity is positively associated with good mental health … when mental health is defined as positive mood, general well-being, and relatively infrequent symptoms of anxiety and depression. This relationship is independent of the effects of education and physical health status … The robustness of this conclusion derives from the varied sources of evidence: four population samples in two countries over a 10-year period, four different methods of operationalizing physical activity, and six different mental health scales.”

Studies on people diagnosed with specific anxiety disorders give more concrete evidence about the powerful effects of exercise. Psychiatrist Egil Martinsen used exercise as a primary form of treatment for 92 patients, 36 of whom had specific anxiety disorders. Each did one hour of aerobic exercise a day, five times a week. After eight weeks all of the 36 anxiety sufferers had significant decreases in their anxiety scores. A follow-up study on 79 patients, all with anxiety, came to the same conclusion. Half the group walked or jogged while the other half did stretching and breathing exercises. Anxiety levels were down in all patients.

Powerful stuff!

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