I want to talk anxiety

Peter GaffneyBlog

I want to talk anxiety PGPT | Mobile Personal Training in London image 4

I want to talk anxiety; More importantly I want to talk anxiety and exercise.

This blog is particularly close to home for me, as I have just come out of a case of high anxiety, which coincided with the birth of my second child Micha. For me anxiety is that overwhelming feeling of losing control. Panic sets in and you wonder how you will ever get through a certain event. You can’t breathe properly and your heart is racing – This was the third time that this had happened to me in my adult life. The good news is, I feel like I have the tools to better handle the situation the more I learn about anxiety.

The first episode was in 2001 when I had a serious injury that ended my football career. This also triggered a state of depression; Everything became overwhelming… How could a guy that was so sporty and active bounce back? More seriously, football aside, my concern was that i couldn’t even walk!

One word to summarise how the situation felt: Daunting!

The second and third occasions both happened during my wife’s pregnancy. I would get extremely anxious at the thought of being a father. How would I cope? Would I manage? I would stress about everything. Even thoughts of, ‘what happens if the baby doesn’t stop crying?’ You get the picture… I’m sure many of you have been there.

Do you know what picked me up out of my state of anxiety in all three cases? It was exercise and the routine, and the goal setting that accompanies this.

Thankfully this last episode has now passed, but it was very real for a good 3 months of my life during the end of 2016.

Watch My 3 Steps to Reduce Anxiety

What I Did To Beat My Anxiety

Started Setting Very Small Goals

When stress and anxiety are present I find the only way to handle this is to set very small health and mind-set goals that I know I will achieve.

Sometimes feeling overwhelmed can make you feel like you are at the bottom of the mountain. The key to overcome this is to know the steps, and the route you will take to climb that mountain. Some examples of small goal setting for me were:

  1. I will successfully workout for 30 minutes every second day (if I do longer than this is a bonus).
  2. I will no longer drink alcohol during the week.
  3. One session a week will be a run around Regents Park.
  4. I will practice affirmations and visualisation every day; Believe and see success in all aspects of my life.

I Focused On My Breathing

Anxiety is often that thought and feeling of your heart rate racing out of control. I took control of this situation and used my heart rate as a guide to focus on my workout. There is something quite empowering when you finish a run or some push ups and you’re breathless, but you have the control to channel all your energy into calming your breathing and reducing your heart-rate.

My breathing routine when I was anxious was breathing in (diaphragm breaths) for five seconds, hold for two and then out for five. I would do this routine three times to ‘re calibrate’. Often I would find I may need to do this three or four times a day.

I Cut My Caffeine Right Down

Caffeine was my crutch. In the height of my anxiety I could, and did, have six double espressos a day, plus a couple of Diet Cokes (I know. Shocking). I’ve now managed to cut this down to 2 espressos a day and one can of Diet Coke. I know it’s not amazing, but for me it’s tangible progress. That feeling of agitation has now gone. When I reflect, I think about how tense and impatient I would be… Not good traits!

Anxiety impacts so many people for a variety of reasons. I get it, and I’ve experienced it. When we live in a crazy ‘bustling’ city like London, where demands are high, for me, the light at the end of the tunnel has always been exercise and wellness; To look at each individual day as a pass (when I’ve followed the above steps).

Before you know it, the things you thought you wouldn’t handle you do and you realise you are fine and able to cope. And do you know what, the mountain becomes a very small gradient!

Success in health and wellness,

Peter Gaffney

Peter has had fitness running through his veins his whole life. Having grown up in sunny Australia, sport was instilled from a very young age. Now living and owning a personal training company in London Peter combines his love of fitness with his proven methods to get client results every time.