It’s no hidden secret that exercise has been shown to reduce stress, depression, anxiety and many other conditions. Exercise, whether it’s team sports, a daily jog or martial arts makes you feel good about yourself due to the hormones it produces. You feel much more confident, better about yourself and your body and it takes your mind off any issues going on in your life. I myself take kickboxing sessions a few times a week, though I do it to keep fit and healthy, everyone does exercise for different reasons.
However, depression and anxiety are mental illnesses. Misophonia is most likely neurological. So, would exercise have the same effect?
It’s difficult to say due to the lack of research put into misophonia. I doubt there is any strong link to suggest that yes, doing daily or weekly exercise will help you cope with misophonia and heal you completely. Because there is no singular treatment specifically for misophonia. There is no cure. Not yet, at least. However, just because there is no evidence that taking part in exercise will get rid of your misophonia doesn’t mean there’s no evidence it can’t help you cope with it.
Misophonia, despite most likely being neurological, has side effects that take its toll on your mental health. It can make you feel really down, really stressed, really anxious and overall very low. After all, the triggers do cause a similar fight/flight/freeze reaction as seen in panic attacks. If the conditions and reactions are similar, why can’t the coping mechanisms be similar?
As proven before, exercise provides many benefits for your mental health. If your misophonia causes or effects depression by making it worse, then you’re in luck. Exercise is almost always recommended as part of the treatment because it promotes healthy changes in the brain, including neural growth. It produces endorphin that makes you feel good. Even if this doesn’t make a difference, exercise does offer time out of the negative cycle of depression and serves as a distraction. If you’re worried about places being noisy or having possible triggers, you can always bring a pair of earplugs or earphones and listen to music you like. I personally like classical music, it’s very calming.
If you’re like me and your misophonia effects your anxiety, then exercise may be for you. Exercise relieves tension in your body and muscles caused by anxiety and stress. It boosts your energy levels, stopping you from feeling low and down. While any sort of exercise can help, it’s recommended to try something intensive, so that you can practice mindfulness and notice what you are doing. Your feet hitting the floor, your legs turning as your run, etc. This prevents worrying thoughts from getting into your head.
Endorphins and exercise can prevent many other problems caused by stress too. Problems such as cramps, headaches, insomnia and stomach ache can be prevented by exercise. The hormones not only generally make you feel better, but you become fitter and healthier as your body starts to function properly again. Give it time and you may lose weight, your hair will feel nice, your skin will be clear and smooth and you’ll really start to feel the physical benefits.
Overall, exercise can help your resilience. Resilience is how well you react to difficult situations in life, especially emotional ones. Exercise is a healthy coping mechanism when things get tough and it helps you feel good during those times. By choosing exercise, you’re much less likely to turn to alcohol, drugs, smoking or over-eating as a result of low emotions and difficult times.
You may be thinking, why am I going on about exercise and other illnesses, but not misophonia?
Like I said, there’s no definitive cure or treatment for misophonia yet. There are things that help, but there isn’t anything specifically for misophonia. Therefore, people with misophonia have to find other ways of coping with the condition and other ways to help themselves. Misophonia over time does effect your mental health, in many different ways. The most general effect is that it causes high levels of stress. This is different with each individual, of course, but there’s no denying how stressful living with misophonia is.
We all have different ways of coping with misophonia, but I believe exercise can be one of the healthier options. Obviously, it isn’t for everyone. But, as someone who does do exercise almost daily, it can really improve your mental health and help you cope with day to day life just a tiny bit easier. Since I started kickboxing, I’ve been gaining confidence in myself, I’ve lost weight, I’ve had time to let of steam from school and I’ve been in better moods.
If you haven’t tried exercise before, I highly recommend you give it a try. This could be a 15 minute light jog after work or school, or joining a sports club, or finding a gym near you. Just try it out and see how you feel after a while.