Getting active helps me feel more positive
I can remember experiencing negative thoughts and feeling a sense of fear from around the age of fourteen. It was only later on in life I realised that I was experiencing generalised anxiety disorder.
My anxiety would stop me being able to achieve things I really wanted to do. While I was studying I regularly avoided finishing assignments, my thoughts would become too overwhelming and it was just easier not to do them. Fear of failure often took over.
Worrying can be exhausting but playing sport would give me a way to switch off and relax. I started swimming and kickboxing as a teenager — it gave me a sense of achievement and helped me feel more positive.
I gave it up as a student but I wish I hadn’t. I wanted to get back into kickboxing but I was anxious after the gap I had taken and felt I wasn’t good enough to be in the classes. I now know people wouldn’t have judged me, and that you get different abilities in every group.
After I finished studying I continued to find it hard to control my anxiety. There were times I felt so low I didn’t want to leave the house.
I started doing a bit of cycling, and being outdoors made me feel refreshed and alive again.
I loved cycling through parks and being out in nature. It made me feel uplifted and my mind seemed less cluttered.
Then my aunt told me about badminton sessions she attended nearby, and I decided to start going along. I absolutely loved it! I got such a buzz and had loads of fun. I joined a women’s badminton club, and I encouraged my family and friends to come along with me. I wanted everyone to experience what a great way it was to de-stress.
Playing sport didn’t just help me physically, it helped me socially and mentally too. It gave me so many opportunities for growth. I took part in organising tournaments, formed new friendships and felt part of a team.
Since I started getting active my anxiety has become more manageable and I am less likely to be withdrawn. Women only sports groups allow me to take care of myself and have a laugh. They motivate me to help others and take on new opportunities and they help me spend time with the people I love, all within a comfortable and enjoyable environment.
To find out more about how getting active could help you, visit mind.org.uk/GetActive