It can happen to all of us. You get worried about something, someone gets on your nerves, you feel anxious, you feel depressed, you start ruminating about the past,… and it is not easy to stop those thoughts. Being overwhelmed by emotions can completely paralyze you. You may try to distract yourself, to meditate or just to “stop thinking” but even that may not help. This can especially become problematic at this coronavirus pandemic time with social isolation and home confinement. Here I give you a solution to rid yourself of the negative emotions that have overwhelmed your mind: just get physical. Now, there are negative and destructive ways to get physical such as yelling, punching the wall, breaking things, acting confrontational, throwing a tantrum etc. That is not what I’m talking about.
Instead I’m talking about physical activity that releases the tension in your body and makes you feel relaxed. Feeling overwhelmed by any of the emotions I just mentioned? The solution is very simple: get on the floor and do as many pushups as you can. Then rest a little bit and do more. Repeat as many Times as you can. Don’t stop till your body feels exhausted and your mind is relaxed. Do kneeling pushups (with your knees on the floor) if full pushups are too difficult for you. I have written on the importance of working out for your emotional well being in the past and I have also told you how you can work out without going to the gym. Here is a quick recast.
Go for a run. Nothing can release your negative emotions better than running freely out in the open. Provided of course you are not under a strict lockdown.
Do 500 body-weight squats. Or do 100 one legged squats. Yes it is going to be difficult at first but you will get accustomed to it fast.
Work out with a sandbag.
Do manual labor.
Go for a long hike. As long as you can and then some. Just be careful not to get lost! I myself have done some crazy city hikes. For example I once walked all the way from Chinatown in san francisco to the Golden Gate Bridge and on another occasion from Chinatown in NYC (yes I like Chinatowns) to the Central Park. If you read this and you live in either the Bay area or the New York City, kudos to you, these tough lockdown times will be over soon and you can enjoy these unique and fantastic places once again.
If you literally can not do any exercises then wash the dishes, tidy your place, make something with your hands (Legos, jigsaw puzzles, knitting, embroidery or whatever suits your taste). The key here is to do something physical that takes your mind out of the vicious cycle that it is in. Doesn’t have to be a workout.
In all these exercises it is important that you do not stop when you start to feel tired. You need to push yourself a little. This is the key to getting fitter and also it is essential for this physical activity to help ameliorate your depression. Finally I guaranty you that this method works. As an example I was just overwhelmed by worries. Why? Because I have to move to a new place soon! That’s right, in this pandemic time I have to move my house soon because my state is under “recommended home quarantine” and people can go outside without being stopped by the police. This was also caused by a setback in moving to a new job. Needless to say, finding a new place in this situation is not so easy and moreover I have to sell some of my stuff. (Bravo to the new tenant of the place I’m living in for signing a lease early on.) Even meditating was not helping me but I knew what to do. I grabbed my sandbag and did several sets of rows and curls and voila I now feel composed and collected again. So stop reading right now and get physical!