Motivation follows action (guest blog)

Back August 22nd, 2017

“Exercise is good for your well-being!”

This is fact and has been shouted aloud many times, with the importance of developing a healthy balance of daily activities seemingly obvious. However, it can be the simple things that fall by the way side when struggling with your mental wellbeing. It is cruel that often an instinctive reaction when struggling with anxiety is to disengage, stop what you’re doing and isolate yourself.

To move forward we must do the opposite and engage. Knowing this can sometimes just add to your state of worry and low mood as you struggle to put such advice into practice. You may lack motivation and the idea might sound overwhelming, but this is where the idea of small steps and gradual exposure comes in. Seeking support from others for encouragement or perhaps learning grounding and relaxation techniques to help you get out there.

I personally enjoy running, and find that by combining the principles of mindfulness into my run I am able to use the activity to boost mood and as a way to manage worry and gain perspective. Running mindfully involves focusing on your senses, focusing on the moment, forcing outward thinking rather than inwardly ruminating about past or future. This year I am doing a half marathon but as I alluded to earlier it started with small gradual steps.

Whatever the activity, to fully benefit we need to immerse ourselves in thinking outwardly, doing someone we find enjoyable and absorbing. The act of doing so can help you forget worries, find calm, connect with others and in turn, boost your mood. And yes, it sounds easy said than done, and yes, it sounds like a straightforward consideration.

But remember, we need balance, from immersing yourself in exercise to the quality of your sleep, diet, and ability to relax, it is our daily habits that have the most effect on wellbeing. And despite how you might be feeling before you engage, remember that often motivation follows action and putting what little energy you do have to begin with often gives you energy in return.

For more tips on how to make those small steps to manage your anxiety you can subscribe to our quarterly magazine Anxious Times and read our helpful guide Understanding Anxiety which are both free with Anxiety UK Membership. Become a member of AUK at

Andy Walton Mental Health Nurse based in England working with military veterans. Writing about anxiety from a personal and professional perspective.

The views expressed by the contributor are not necessarily those of Anxiety UK, nor can we guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. If you would like to write a blog for AUK please email  for more information

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