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Improving Your Balance May Help You Reduce Your Anxiety

Posted Mar 29 2009 4:14pm

If you’ve had anxiety problems for long enough you may have experienced balance problems.  You may have felt like the ground was moving, or like you were going to literally fall down.  This phenomena is in fact a common symptom related to anxiety disorders.  Researchers now believe that if anxiety sufferers improve their balance through phyiscal exercises they may be able to reduce their level of anxiety.

Researchers from Tel Aviv University have discovered a link between anxiety and balance problems by studying children with General Anxiety Disorder.  During the research study children with GAD and children without GAD (control group) were asked to perform several balance exercises.  These exercises revealed that most children with GAD had a difficult time performing the various balancing activities.

In addition, after a 12 week course of “sensory motor intervention” the children with GAD showed a noticeable improvement in their levels of anxiety.  The intervention is mainly based on phyiscal therapy exercises aimed at strengthening balance.

Although it’s unclear if anxiety causes balance issues or visa versa what is clear to researchers is that treating the mind through phyiscal movement is possible.

This led me on a search for balance exercises that might fit the mold.  There are exercises designed specifically to improve balance, such as plantar, knee, hip flexion exercises, and side leg raises.  There are several other type of exercises, such as these, that could also help improve balance.

The take home message is that correcting balance problems could have a positive impact on your anxiety.  Although the research study did not include adults (wish it had) we could infer a similar effect on adults.

On the other hand, this is very difficult to say for sure.  I was unable to find any similar studies for adults so we can only hope that they expand this type of research study to gain more insight into the balance anxiety connection.  Could this type of therapy only work for children?  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

For more information on the connection between anxiety and balance follow the links I included below.

1. Vertigo and Psychological Disturbances

2. Annals of Psychiatry

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