How I Fight (and Beat) Anxiety with Movement
Life is all about getting started. What, at first, seems impossible has to start somewhere.
Every great accomplishment began with a simple start.
Every writer had to pen her first word.
Every great orator had to utter his first sound in front of others.
When I was younger, I naively thought that growing up meant that, one day, I would suddenly have it all figured out.
When I was younger, I thought that the jumbled thoughts would unjumble themselves to form perfectly crafted for which I could orchestrate perfect responses.
When I was younger, I didn’t have my anxiety under control.
I would create vast landscapes of anguish in my head. I could dream up a thousand reasons why something wouldn’t work out—and maybe three or four reasons for why it would.
Now I know that it’s better to just get started. Anxiety hates it when you start.
Anxiety thrives when there is no movement whatsoever because that means there is ample time and space to think about nothing other than anxiety.
Movement changes things.
Movement brings new images into view—and when new images come into view, awareness increases and what was once on the periphery becomes a possibility.
Movement doesn’t solve all of your problems, but it solves the problem of inaction.
The opposite of movement is inaction.
I’m at my worst when I’m sitting at home by myself not doing anything of value. I need to be intentional about my time.
Now, you might say that I’m staying busy to escape my negative feelings, and years ago you would have been right. I escaped into negative ways of coping that I thought were equivalent to movement.
But they were akin to a car spinning its wheels.
Now I know that action must be purposeful. Don’t read into that too much, though. I’m not saying that you need to act with everything figured out in your mind—but you do need to act with intention.
These days I have an intention to grow. I have an intention to be curious. I have an intention to read what interests me and write about what I read.
I intend to be alive in this world.
Every day I make the choice to start.
I acknowledge the anxious part of me—that part is never going to go away, I realize—but then I gently nudge it aside.
I say, today could be great. I’m going to learn something remarkable. I’m going to change my landscape simply by moving—by taking simple actions, over and over.
You adopt that mindset for enough days, and your days start to turn into a life.
I hate anxiety. But anxiety hates movement.
I’m going to keep moving.