After a summer full of record-breaking temperatures, it seems that fall weather has finally arrived in East Tennessee! I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love the fall. The crisp air, beautiful leaves changing, and the comfortable temperatures are just a few of the reasons to enjoy this amazing season. I have most been looking forward to enjoying walks again this fall. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good walk anytime of the year, but I find it much more enjoyable in the absence of hot and humid weather.
Spending a few minutes in a different environment is one of the best things I can do for myself when I am in an anxious state. I have been able to combat many symptoms and manage the effects of my anxiety disorder by switching my focus to walking and enjoying nature. While in the midst of waves of anxiety or even during an attack, I find that getting myself (at times, forcing myself) up and moving outside in the fresh air is the perfect distraction. By practicing mindfulness during a walk, I am able to open up to all of my senses, providing further deterrence from anxiety.
Studies have shown that exercise in general is effective at enhancing overall cognitive function. This is especially true when stress and anxiety have zapped your energy or ability to focus. While the mood lifting effects of one walk may be temporary, it has been suggested that regular exercise can promote lasting effects for mood, as well as stress and anxiety symptoms. A quick walk is often just what I need to get my mind (and body) back on track.