I realized today what I have learned to like about exercising. When I’m at the gym my success or failure is entirely up to me. I am not talking about weight loss that can be entirely out of my control. I’m talking about during that hour of work. I decide whether I am going to kick butt or play it safe.
I cant get that kind of control from almost anything else in my life. I can’t control my family, my love life (or lack of), my friends, my job, what deadlines are set for me without my say. I think this is also why I like voice lessons. It is entirely in my control. (I’m doing Moon River this week. Hurray!).
This week I was under so much pressure because of a deadline set for work that even my boss had no input on. I really thought it was going to be impossible. I finished my end of the month 6 days faster than I normally do. That might as well be an eternity in accountant terms! So for each day to go to the gym and have a short sense of control makes a big difference for my mental health.
This is especially true when I’m kickboxing. It feels so empowering and exciting to get the anger and frustration out. I wish I could explain it. I feel like I can explode (maybe even lose control) in a socially acceptable way.
The strange thing about my anxiety is I actually feel tons of adrenalin during the anxiety. I think that is what allows me to get through it. I do a good job despite the tears when I’m under anxiety. In fact, often it is my best work which is perhaps why I can’t seem to remove it from my life. I remember my old boss saying he kept giving me more work because I did such a good job on them that I was the first person who came to his mind. Each job I’d agree to because most of the time I had no choice but then I kept doing better and better with the increasing pressure. Problem is my head was exploding bit by bit….Gosh it’s hard to explain.
At least when I am angry, or anxious my performance in the gym or pool is like nothing else. Perhaps I feel challenged or my body gives off some chemical when it feels anxious that boosts performance? I’m not a doctor so I’m not sure. In February I was very upset because of a personal disappointment but I had an appointment to swim so I went and my times totally rocked. Has anyone else experienced this?
It’s funny because I generally don’t get adrenalin from exercising. In fact, I never do. I get adrenalin from anxiety and stress and then it helps me in exercise but it doesn’t actually cause adrenalin. Maybe before races I just need someone to break my heart or tick me off? (Please, no!). 😉
Anyway, I was grateful this week when working 12 hour jammed pack days and having my anxiety episode that I have built up a pattern of exercise to help me feel in control. I don’ t know how I could have made it any other way. Well, I know it would have been an episode a day earlier and much more severe. I’ve said it a million times but for me anxiety is all about fear and control. Cognitive therapy has taught me a lot about rationalizing and overcoming that fear but I think everyone needs some control over their life. For me, exercise does that.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve been forced into this mindset of control because so often in my life I’m in situations where if I didn’t do it, or lead it, it didn’t happen. I remember even going back to Middle School and there was a craft fair for some club and I made nearly every craft. (Still have the burn on my leg to this day). In grad school I decided to give up control and went on a trip trusting my group for a project. Came home and turns out they hadn’t read the assignment fully and in 3 days I had to come up with a survey of JWA employees, tabulate the results and turn in the assignment for the group. That was the last time I took a back seat in grad school I will tell you that!
This is how it goes for me. Every job I’ve ever had has been one where I had no back up or substitute, total control. Funny because I think I’m a natural leader? (I admit I’m a terrible follower…). A side of me obviously likes this control or it wouldn’t land in my lap so often (I certainly hate the reverse and being told what to do all the time) but the anxiety is an unwelcome side affect I’m getting better at dealing with. (this is why a mission was so hard for me. You lose all control, but it was for God so I knew it was in His hands and had a great, if exhausting, experience).
This blog actually gives me control. In the end it is my voice and I chose what to put out there. No editors (but my own constant editing), no teachers, no collaborators to deal with. Just me and my voice.
You see why I’m single. This control thing will be interesting come marriage!. Even in dating and relationships I feel I often have to take control but that can be obnoxious too. Are you asking the right questions? Are they being real? What should you say? One time I went on a date and a guy made me ask every question or it was silent and then at the end I hadn’t finished my food I said ‘Sorry I’m a slow eater’. He said ‘Well, if you didn’t talk so much’…Last time we went out!
I guess in the end it is all kind of silly because I don’t really have any control . That is in God’s hands. Believe me He made it possible for me to finish the impossible task this week. He held my hand when I felt out of control and He helped me make the tough choices. Some may look at my life and even express to me that I have nothing to feel anxiety about. What a comfort to know that God understands and loves me no matter what. He is all patience. All love. And He knows us and knows that in the midst of the hurricane I need an hour of control at the gym
(Thanks also to my trainers Michele and Ben for being so great during this crazy week).
I honestly feel like I did on my mission and I can’t wait for a relaxing weekend. Wahoo!