I have a client who has recently experienced some symptoms of anxiety. We have – with the support of a doctor – determined that it is in fact stress-induced anxiety and not an underlying condition (i.e., irregular heart beat or atrial fib). I have suggested the client read more about relaxation techniques, breathing techniques and suggested that when the anxiety feeling is coming on, rather than focus on it thus making it worse, reach for some calming techniques. Exercise has absolutely improved the condition: just wondering if there is anything else we can do? Thanks!
Fair enough: thank you for your feedback. For points of clarification these anxious moments have never occurred in my presence: I would conjecture that this is job- or finance-induced anxiety/stress. Per the client, exercise has supported in using unexpended energy and reducing stress (yes! it does!) and rest has been more achievable since we’ve introduced exercise. I’d like to borrow the philosophy of finding a “quiet” place and make the recommendation to the client: distancing oneself from stresses of any kind (computers, phones, people) can de-escalate the situation, and breathing techniques during the anxiety attack would be beneficial (I would think).
I agree with integrating yoga: we actually began working out with yoga and pilates as: 1) the individual had not exercised regularly in over 1 year; and 2) I knew it would be helpful in managing the anxiety. We have since added cardio, graduating from walking to jogging while still doing yoga or pilates afterward. I will def read about the music suggestions — thanks!!
Do you mean they get anxiety symptoms during the workout, or as a general thing?
If the first I think Noel’s technique is really great. Allowing the client to have space to come back to baseline is really helpful. And it is quite a great idea to have a way to let them be private about it, so they don’t feel more stress that they are being singled out, or that they are keeping anyone else from their workout, which can cause some people to be even more stressed.
I also think it is great that you had the client go to a physician. It puts you in a good position of not trying to treat outside your scope of practice.
I come from the world of yoga, and that is a practice that I think can be very helpful in developing skills to battle anxiety and stress. Adding some yoga practice, especially yoga that focuses on the connection of breath and movement can be really helpful.
I did a blog on this, if you are interested: http://blog.ideafit.com/blogs/ariadne-greenberg/stress-reduction-and-med…
May I recommend some music? Look for things by Steven Halpern (non vocal music specifically designed to help the brain relax), or Snatm Kaur or Krishna Das (Kirtan greats) (actually I also did a blog on yoga music, which has a number of suggestions).
I had a client with the same issues for 7 years. We developed a cue that said he was getting anxiety coming on (2 thumbs up was ours-I did not want to make it look negative when he gave the cue). We would go to a place in the gym where we could go and be calm. He had 2 different locations in the gym. We would work on our breathing and stretching in this time. It worked well for us. His trigger was usually someone in the gym that was too aggressive with talking or louder.
Hope it helps