BOXING FOR ANXIETY?
Who would’ve thought, right?
Although any & all types of fitness & workouts are great for coping with increased levels of stress & anxiety, boxing stands out for me as the #1 way I cope. It has literally changed my life. If you have anxiety, you know that it has the power to dominate your life if you don’t find ways to adequately cope with it so that it doesn’t take over your day to day life.
Some days, my anxiety is so bad, it weighs me down, demoralizes me & makes me feel inadequate in all areas of my life. Some days, it’s less intense, but it’s still there. One thing is for certain… Boxing ALWAYS helps!
Let me tell you WHY.
- hitting the bag gives me a satisfying feeling & is the perfect release for anger, frustration & stress; it also physically produces a response in the body that relieves tension caused by stress (I feel this tension most in my lower back when I get really anxious or stressed out).
- builds self-efficacy, self-confidence & nurtures my ability to trust that I can handle any challenge, physical or mental.
- being present in the moment & on my toes gets me out of my head & into my body. It truly feels like an out of body experience & while the workout is wild, it’s so soothing on the mind.
- provides a really intense rush of endorphins, which helps boost mood, makes me feel happier & less stressed.
- he fact I’m so concentrated on my balance, coordination & getting into a flow for my punching sequence means I take my mind off everything else. I’m able to concentrate outwardly rather than inwardly & use my energy to do something satisfying rather than stress! The larger picture is that it gives me a fresh perspective to be able to deal with the things in my life that are burdening me.
- unlike other exercises that are used for anxiety (such as yoga, where I find I really have to focus on poses), boxing gives me no time to think about anything but punching so I really get to disconnect. PS. I’m not saying yoga isn’t effective to cope with anxiety, stress or any other mental health issues, it just doesn’t work for me!
THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION: Has boxing cured my anxiety entirely?
No. I realize it’s something I will ALWAYS live with but also something that becomes easier to cope with overtime. When it comes to what’s effective to soothe feelings of anxiety, my best advice is to be open-minded to alternative ways, whether they be exercise-related, natural herbs/supplements &/or mindfulness. I never thought I could leave a boxing class feeling soothed, with a calm mind & less of a propulsion to overthink & over-stress.
But I gave it a shot & now? I can’t live without it.