Whenever Jessica Ayliffe, 33, feels like her anxiety is getting the better of her, she schedules in a workout. It's not always easy (then again, what is when juggling work commitments and two kids under five?), but she's learnt that moving her body has a direct impact on her ability to manage stress.
"Working out gives me the opportunity to stop, slow down my thoughts and clear my head," she tells Mamamia. "Anxiety can make me feel so overwhelmingly out of control at times, and it's a feeling I really hate. Exercise helps me take back a bit of control over my mind and body – something as simple as being able to choose what type of movement I do and how hard I push myself helps give me back some power."
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During a recent study, researchers from the University of South Australia found that physical activity is 1.5 times more effective than counselling or medication when it comes to managing depression. It can also significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety and psychological distress.
But can something as simple as going for a run really make that much of a difference? According to Carly Dober, psychologist and mental health expert for the Headspace App, the answer is yes.