Inspiration for the next time you feel like the walls are closing in on you.
Approximately 40 million adults currently live with an anxiety disorder—and that includes lots of celebrities, many of whom are pretty candid about how hitting the gym has eased their mental health issues. Exercise as an anxiety buster is something experts back up as well. And judging by the mega career success these stars have had, it seems like they're really onto something when it comes to turning panic into power.
Here, eight stars—lifelong gym-goers as well as fitness newbies—share how working out has kept them calm, centered, and strong.
“I promise you, the gym has taken away so much of my stress. It has helped calm me down," said mom-to-be Kardashian in an interview with Marie Claire 2015. "When I'm fidgety and I just feel like everything is closing in, I go to the gym. You're building endorphins and feeling good about yourself. It's saved me.”
“If I don’t work out, I feel heavy," Gomez told Yahoo! Beauty in 2015. "Everything about me just feels a little bit down. And sometimes I will just run on the treadmill and get emotional because it sort of relieves everything that you’re feeling.”
The Being Mary Jane star recommended gym sessions in an interview with Elle in 2014: “A good boxing workout is the best stress, anxiety, and rage reliever there is, so I definitely look forward to that.”
“Exercising is one way I deal with anxiety," Lovato revealed in a Huffington Post interview in 2015. Painting and writing music and expressing myself through art are other ways that I can release emotions.”
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The British singer opened up about how she used workouts to battle panic attacks in an interview with Well + Good earlier this year. “The more I started doing classes and also working out with my trainer, Faisal Abdalla, the better I felt about myself. And it wasn’t about any change in my outward appearance; it was about seeing and feeling myself get better and stronger. It carried over into other areas of my life, and now I truly feel that exercise—however you like to work out—is good for the soul.”
In an Instagram post in 2015, Dunham praised the power of a solid workout. “[I] promised myself I would not let exercise be the first thing to go by the wayside when I got busy with Girls Season 5 and here is why: It has helped with my anxiety in ways I never dreamed possible. To those struggling with anxiety, OCD, depression: I know it’s mad annoying when people tell you to exercise, and it took me about 16 medicated years to listen. I’m glad I did. It ain’t about the ass, it’s about the brain.”
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In a February 2016 interview with Health, Benson said, “I was on Xanax for a long time. It helped, but I decided I was going to be able to self-medicate through meditation, working out, sleeping, eating healthy and drinking more water.”
“I like what [exercise] does for my mind," Ripa explained to Good Housekeeping. If I've had a bad day, if I'm feeling stressed out, if I'm feeling overwhelmed—it takes it all away. It's my antidote for everything. If I feel any sort of emotional upheaval, I go for a jog and I feel better."