By Marianne Clyde
Agitation was almost consuming me this morning and I was having a difficult time pinpointing the problem. I went outside to sit with the dogs while they explored our back yard. Being outside sometimes helps when I’m anxious or agitated.
Then I remembered a phrase from my past, Solvitur Ambulando, “It is solved by walking.” I belonged to a hiking group at one time that we affectionately named it thus. I got up and started walking around the yard.
Yes, moving helps. As a psychotherapist for many years, I would ofter suggest activity to clients who struggled with agitation, as well as most other unpleasant emotions and it’s still my go to agitation solving practice. Sometimes you just have to move, for several reasons:
- Walking releases cortisol (a stress hormone)
- Walking alerts nerves cells in the brain that relax you
- Walking releases endorphins to help you feel good and eliminate pain
- Walking releases muscle tension
- Walking releases neurotransmitters that reduce stress and anxiety
At one point, a client told what happened when she got a phone call that said her mother-in-law was landing at the airport. Teamwork kicked in. Her husband hopped in the car to pick up his mom, while my client hopped on her treadmill. By the time mom walked in the door, my client was no longer overly anxious, and she had dinner ready.
It’s amazing how one simple practice like this can change a potential outcome quite dramatically.
Action Step: Think of a situation in the past in which walking eased your stress level and/or think of a time when it might help today.