Anxiety is good, it is your body’s natural response to stress. It is good for you as long as you overcome it rather than succumb to it.
The hard part is to train yourself to harness the positive aspects of anxiety and not succumb to what can be a debilitating disease. So how do you do it?
For me it is the setting of physical challenges that also challenge psychological resilience. In 2017, I was anxious about the CrossFit hero workout Murph. It wasn’t just anxiety about the physical challenge but also for what the workout stood for; the memory of a hero, someone who gave his life for the sake of others. I am not sure why, I never had the opportunity to meet Lt. Michael Murphy but since learning of his story and the workout in 2015, I felt an affinity to the man, to his service, to his sacrifice. I had done a few Murphs during the years but hadn’t overcome the anxiety that surrounded the workout even when discussing the idea of doing it. In 2017 whilst on a 6 month trip to a sandy, hot country I decided to overcome the anxiety and get fit at the same time. I commited to do Murph every Friday for the duration of my trip. Friday became Murphday. Every Friday, regardless of how I was feeling, I would put on my weighted vest and do the workout. The more I did the workout, the more I began to enjoy it and actually look forward to Murphdays rather than be anxious about them. Fast forward to 2019, a tear to the meniscus in my left knee, rehab and recovery kept me off any harsh challenges. As I began to get on the road again regarding running, I set myself a challenge for the next 12 months; to run 1664km in the year. Although this wasn’t far regarding distances, I had lost my mojo with running a few years ago and had gone as long as 4 years without running. I wanted to rekindle the passion I had for being on a run with my thoughts just like I used to as a kid. The year began well, kick-started with a Brutal10 run on boxing day 2019 with a few friends, I began to clock up the km’s. Everything was going well and I was finding the passion again, until 8km into a 10km run on a hot day in May when I twisted my knee slightly. I didn’t break my stride and did not think much of it at the time. That evening though, it became apparent that I had done it again, this time on the right knee, the meniscus was torn.
This time we would not be electing for surgery due to COVID19, I would be taking the slower route to recovery. As the body has recovered well now, the mind needs another challenge.
Burpees. No sane person likes burpees. They are so good for you though. So on the 14th September I embarked on the 100 Burpee, 30 day challenge. Every day, regardless of how I am feeling, I will commit to completing 100 burpees. Commitment will ensure that I finish the challenge and overcome the anxiety of whether I can do it or not. Without challenging our bodies and our minds, we grow old. What are you doing to challenge yourself?