Exercise - Social Anxiety Forum

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post #1 of 101 (permalink) Old 02-26-2010, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Exercise


Any physical activity that raises your heart rate.

More Info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exercise
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post #2 of 101 (permalink) Old 02-26-2010, 01:35 PM
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If only exercise came in a pill form


Social Anxiety Background
Social anxiety has affected me since I was in elementary school. While it was triggered initially by a traumatic experience, it is something that runs in the family and I certainly had a predisposition for. Some examples of how it manifested itself over the years: avoiding certain types of social situations and friends, avoiding public speaking, avoiding the opposite sex completely, hiding in the library during lunch, the thought of just walking down certain hallways at my highschool terrified me, fear of being around large groups of people, fear and avoidance of going to parties or social gatherings, etc. My social anxiety started to get severe when I dropped out of college after one quarter because of my social anxiety. That's when I started to get uncomfortable just leaving my apartment and hit "the bottom" so to speak. Through treatment with group cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming (EMDR) for mild Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and medication I've been able to live the balanced life that I value and form healthy friendships and relationships.

Other Treatments
Alexander Technique is something that goes along with this, although it certainly doesn't have the effect of burning off adrenaline and cortisol like exercise does. It teaches good use of your body. I don't see either is a replacement for the other.

Treatment Experience
I joke, but I've found exercise to have a profound effect on how much anxiety and specifically, feelings of panick I feel Sometimes I'll start to get anxious just in my apartment sometimes for seemingly no reason, other times when I'm thinking about future events. I can drop down and do 30 pushups and instantly my feelings of anxiety completely go away.

I encourage you to find the form of exercise you enjoy so that you'll want to do it regularly. For the longest time I ran regularly because I felt I *should*. The thing is, I absolutely hate running. Now I ride a bike daily to get around and it's great, because when I get to the places I'm going I don't feel anxious because I've exercised to get there. Whatever it is for you, it doesn't really matter, the important thing is you find something you'll want to do regularly.

To go back to my humorous title, unfortunately I can't always exercise to reduce my feelings of anxiety. I don't think it would be appropriate to drop down and do pushups during a first date to burn off that adrenaline and cortisol, do you?

Edit: I've been using a stationary cycle that allows me to EXERCISE and USE MY LAPTOP at the SAME TIME. I highly recommend it to others:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ce-full-site=1
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post #3 of 101 (permalink) Old 02-26-2010, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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Wellness program at Stanford University


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Posted by StressReduction
Other Treatments
The other program in our study is the Mindfulness-based stress reduction program, which 1. Trains you to purposefully direct your attention to the current moment, without critical judgment 2. Enhances awareness and acceptance of external events as well as internal thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations 3. Implements a meditation practice in your life to cultivate these skills 4. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) classes are once a week, 2.5 hours long and take place either on Stanford campus, in the South Bay (Mountain View, Campbell, San Jose), in San Francisco, or in Oakland. The mindfulness classes are in a group format, but the focus is on each individual's practice and skills.

Treatment Experience
I guess this is sort of a second-hand experience, but I work at a psychology lab that does research on Social Anxiety Disorder, and as part of our study, we offer clinical interventions to people who suffer from social anxiety.

One of them is our Wellness program. The Exercise-based stress reduction program:
1. You set up an exercise program with our exercise specialist tailored to fit your life, personal goals and skill level and you follow it daily/weekly
2. You check-in by phone weekly for 10 minutes with our exercise coach and trouble-shoot any potential barriers to following through with the program
3. You attend a group exercise class of your choice to expose oneself to more social contact in a given week
4. We pay for a gym membership or an exercise class for you for 8 weeks

I know that I've learned a lot from just being a part of this, and I hope others can benefit too. That's why I wanted to share my experience.
If you or someone you know is in the San Francisco Bay area is looking for help (specifically, free therapy), contact the CAAN lab at the Stanford Psychology Department:
650-723-5977 or email us ([email protected])

At the website you can find out more about our study: http://waldron.stanford.edu/~caan/Free_Treatment.html
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post #4 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-20-2011, 07:10 PM
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Exercise is really good for my SA problem too. I do fencing and swimming and made me a much healthier person. And you get to meet friends too!
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post #5 of 101 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 10:39 PM
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I can vouch for this. ANY type of exercise should help with your self-esteem.

I've been working out from my home using video workouts (I won't mention the name) for a month now. I bought a few dumbbells and a pull up bar, and wake up at 7:30AM, six times a week.

Overall I feel a lot more relaxed and happy that I have actually challenged my habits and tried to change my lifestyle a bit. My advice would be to just take it easy, don't push yourself too hard and don't dwell on your failures. The strongest person in the gym was the weakest one at some point, and working out in the privacy of your home should help keep the anxiety at bay.

I hope that eventually I'll feel confident enough to hit the gym =).

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post #6 of 101 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 01:45 AM
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I cycle to most places now and its helped my heart rate a lot.

Would love to jog but I'm not sure where to start
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post #7 of 101 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 03:23 AM
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ive been getting a lot more exercise lately it has helped a lot
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post #8 of 101 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 05:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
Any physical activity that raises your heart rate.

More Info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exercise
You seem to be asserting that that is how Wikipedia defines exercise. It's not; and it's not a proper definition of 'exercise'. Physical exercise does not have to raise your heart rate.
Here is what Wikipedia says:
"Physical exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness."

But I agree that exercise is very useful for depression and anxiety, moreso if it is aerobic.
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post #9 of 101 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 01:28 PM
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I think anaerobic is good too!

"I think the existential dilemma is: We're social animals, so we all wrestle with a sense of inadequacy. But when we realize that we're not as inadequate as we thought we were, and when we realize that everybody elese also thinks they're inadequate, then the ache goes away and the idea that we're not a person of value disappears to some extent."

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post #10 of 101 (permalink) Old 03-11-2011, 01:03 AM
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lifting weights completely changed my life around, went from shaking at the mall parking lot in my car, trying to force myself to walk threw the mall to the bookstore, rather than use the outside door..

pills.. ehh just go lift, feel yourself, get yourself better, stronger, healthier, the mind will follow.

that was a while ago.. hehe lifting helps. all is well now, won't see me at any frat partys running around naked, but life is good. Lots of friends, it happens.
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post #11 of 101 (permalink) Old 03-11-2011, 03:01 PM
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I don't exercise I lift.
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post #12 of 101 (permalink) Old 03-17-2011, 02:57 AM
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Originally Posted by need2bnormal View Post
, I could not be exercising right - but when ever I exercise it gives me more anxiety !? ... I end up feeling more panic then what I was feeling before exercising .. .
Do you have any heart problem?
Have you consult with your doctor about it? What reply did you get?
You must be doing hard exercises. Try starting for normal exercise from small laps first then eventually increase the duration.
Remember exercise makes you healthier.
Orem boot camp

Last edited by Baird; 03-19-2011 at 12:59 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #13 of 101 (permalink) Old 08-16-2011, 04:01 AM
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Yeah just started lifting seriously (6 times a week) about a month ago. I think it's great for social anxiety and depression. It builds confidence, releases endorphins and all that other good stuff to relieve anxiety and depression, clears your mind, plus it gives me another interest besides the computer. I think it's great.
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post #14 of 101 (permalink) Old 10-21-2011, 05:36 AM
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Yeah just started lifting seriously (6 times a week) about a month ago. I think it's great for social anxiety and depression. It builds confidence, releases endorphins and all that other good stuff to relieve anxiety and depression, clears your mind, plus it gives me another interest besides the computer. I think it's great.
Yeah, I thought that in the summer when I went into the country club gym with my friend where nobody went really. Once my friend got a job at a golf course, he stopped going, and I tried to go alone a couple times, but I just couldn't. I've ran here and there the past couple months but haven't been to a gym since early July....I'm scared to go because of SA and I'm starting all over and am weak because I am untrained. Also, working out with people your age also sucks is very scary!

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post #15 of 101 (permalink) Old 10-21-2011, 09:10 AM
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There's no gym close by here so I can't go to the gym (transportation is something I don't have). But I got myself some workout videos for home and I'm starting to do that, and also taking more walks. It does help you feel better. And you keep feeling better when you notice your body and health getting better from it. And gives you something different to do. I've been really sedentary for the past year or two, but I'm trying to get out of that now.
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post #16 of 101 (permalink) Old 10-21-2011, 11:52 AM
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There's no gym close by here so I can't go to the gym (transportation is something I don't have). But I got myself some workout videos for home and I'm starting to do that, and also taking more walks. It does help you feel better. And you keep feeling better when you notice your body and health getting better from it. And gives you something different to do. I've been really sedentary for the past year or two, but I'm trying to get out of that now.
I am so happy you are taking care of yourself I lift, spin and take martial arts. All of which has helped my self esteem and in turn my anxiety. Nothing better than empowering yourself...But be careful who you surround yourself with trainer wise.

I just came out a bad 16 week competition prep situation with an emotionally abusive trainer, him combined with ex b/f also emotionally abusive made my anxiety so bad that gym made me miserable and I had to seek counseling. She's helping me enjoy the gym and being healthy again....
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post #17 of 101 (permalink) Old 10-21-2011, 04:24 PM
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Big time stress reliever and healthy for you. highly recommended for a natural feel-good high
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post #18 of 101 (permalink) Old 10-22-2011, 02:21 AM
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There's nothing like runner's high... if they came out with a supplement for THAT, I'd buy it in stock! Sure, I feel great after most workouts. But it doesn't last very long.

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post #19 of 101 (permalink) Old 10-22-2011, 02:44 AM
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Running is the way to go for me, too. Ever since I do it regularly, my anxiety has basically dropped. Sure, there is still some, but it's far more baerable, now.
Fortunatly we have a running machine, so I could start out at home, untill I felt comfortable enough to go outside.
Now I do it every other day, and it feels great. Afterwards I am calm, relaxed, and tired in a really nice way, I love it.

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post #20 of 101 (permalink) Old 10-23-2011, 11:08 AM
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Exercise naturally causes endorphin release, so chemically it is guaranteed to boost mood. Anaerobic exercise also helps boost testosterone levels. It makes sense that if you're feeling better you will be able to tackle social anxiety more easily.
Usually self-image is boosted by a healthy exercise program as well, so if that is a contributing factor to your SA then there is another perk, and, as yufiopen mentioned, it can be used as a way to meet people if you go to a gym or something. I also notice I seem to be approached more by other people at times when I've really been pushing myself in workouts and am looking my best, which is nice because starting conversations can be difficult with my SA and I get an esteem boost
I have found exercise very helpful in the past. I aim for a daily moderate cardio workout weight-lifting and calisthenics three days a week (3 so there is time for muscle recuperation and I can work different groups).
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