Photo: WAYHOME studio (Shutterstock) While our Capitol was being overrun by insurrectionists yesterday, I went for a walk. A few hours later, after having been glued to Twitter trying to make sense of it all for far longer than I’d like to admit, I went for a run. It helped. I will never argue that exercise is sufficient to meet everyone’s mental health needs, but it beats a lot of other coping mechanisms, like drinking and doomscrolling and crying in the shower. (Satire site Reductress probably said it best: “ Woman Who Says Exercise Is Like Therapy Must Have Some Pretty Light Trauma .”) If you’re working through truly difficult things right now, take my fellow writer Sam Blum’s advice and get yourself a therapist . You have plenty of options, from in-person sessions, to telehealth visits, to text-based platforms. We also have a rundown of ways to calm you panic and anxiety , including a video you can watch while you’re having a panic attack. Why exercise helps There are two reasons to exercise when your thoughts are spiraling out of control. One is for the benefits it may bring to the rest of your day and to your long term health. Exercise tends to use up nervous energy, calm our brains down, and promote better sleep. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America notes that people who exercise are less likely to have anxiety and depression, possibly because exercise helps us cope better with stress. Exercise isn’t […]