Hooping And Anxiety
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e all know that hula hooping has many natural health benefits. One benefit I see time and time again is that it helps people suffering from chronic mental health disorders, one in particular: anxiety disorder.
Speaking from personal experience, anxiety disorder is an extreme challenge to live with. I have personally lost many jobs, been sick time and time again. Once I was even close to hospitalization. I have tried medication after medication, therapy after therapy. Even some things I’m not proud to admit I tried. All just to feel better, to not be scared all the time. If I were to describe a panic attack to you, I would say this: Imagine that feeling you get when you have to slam on the breaks in your car. Your heart sinks, maybe you feel sick, you stop breathing for a minute. Having panic attacks is that feeling multiple times a day, often for no reason at all. Currently I still struggle but I have found that the one thing that really works for me is hula hooping. Before I found these lovely circles I was so stricken with anxiety it was almost debilitating. I had virtually no friends, multiple major panic attacks daily. Inside the hoop though, it’s like I’m in my own literal circle where there are no bad things, no bad people, only happiness. It’s okay to feel how I feel and I know that with each spin of the hoop the moments will pass and I will once again feel okay.
Anxiety disorders have a broad range but generally an anxiety disorder is characterized by recurring and often intense panic attacks or episodes of panic. Panic attacks are caused by the body’s natural response to a dangerous situation, but in people with anxiety disorder these attacks occur more frequently and mainly when there is no threat, sometimes for no reason at all. When the body goes into “panic mode” it releases adrenaline. This is known as the “fight or flight” response. However, when there is no real danger having this release of adrenaline can cause significant feelings of distress, sadness, and fear. Panic attacks are often accompanied by very real physical symptoms like shaking, sweating, jumbled thoughts,
racing heart, shortness of breath, nausea and in severe cases even fainting or loss of consciousness. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in the United States, affecting about 40 million people over the age of 18. This is 18% of the U.S. population. Women are twice as likely to be affected than men.
So how does hula hooping help us? Daily exercise helps reduce the risk of panic attack greatly. Hooping is also a great tool to be used during an attack. Not only is dancing itself very therapeutic, the music you choose can also play a role in helping you to feel better. Having something that makes you happy to focus on will help you to calm down. I have heard time and again that anxiety sufferers feel that they are able to “get lost” in hoop dance and it takes all of their worries away. Hula hooping is also great for building your confidence and helping you find friends to lean on.
I also asked the community how they use hooping to ease their anxiety symptoms and what follows are some of the answers I received:
“Hooping always helps me to pull in my fears and anxieties, instead of letting them radiate out all around me. I come back to my center, connect with my breath and move. It helps me to find that inner peace and clarity so that I can hoop through and know that I will be alright” Lori J
“Is the only thing that quiets my mind. I forget all my worries when I’m in my hoop.” Amber P
“Hooping has helped with my anxiety and depression so much. I have struggled with self harm. But hooping has replaced my need to cut. The high I get from picking up my hoop and just getting lost in a song is amazing and healthy and unlike cutting, which makes me feel worse about myself after, and ruins my body, hooping makes me feel amazing and beautiful and is great for my body.” Nicole R
“When I’m on the verge of an anxiety attack picking up a hoop can completely divert its course. I get in my hoop and stop thinking about all my worries, my fast beating heart, my sweaty palms and become lost in my hula hoop. My focus moves into the music, the wind the hoops movement creates, and the hoops smooth touch on my skin. It changes my breathing from hyperventalation to long and deep.” Brittney I
“When I am on the verge of an anxiety attack, I pick up my hoop and it all just disappears. Getting lost is the infinite circle gets rid of all worry, anger, and anxiety and helps me channel my energy in a positive direction.” Erika C
“I love singing and dancing but my body and voice locks up when anyone is present… That is until I met my perfect dance partner. When I’m inside my circle everyone disappears and we have this romantic connection that gives me a confidence I’ve never known until her!” Jesica B
“Hooping is the only thing that takes my mind off of my anxiety, because of the concentration I put into it and the flow just helps me relax. Everything else besides me kinda stops for a while and the world is just quiet.” Alyssa M
“It works your muscles out after a day of tensing up. It makes me focus and not worry.” Sara C
As you can see, hula hooping is a wonderful partner to combat anxiety disorders, along with proper medical attention, good eating habits, and relaxation exercises. You too can use the magic of a hula hoop to get relief of even your scariest moments.
**If you ever feel that you are in danger of harming yourself or others, or are too afraid, do not be afraid to seek medical assistance.
National Suicide Prevention: 1800-273-8255
Anxiety Hotline: 1-888-269-4389