Article Contributed by Sam Foster
Common stress relief and relaxation techniques involve moments of tranquility with candles and a bubble bath. Maybe even a nice cup of chamomile tea. It’s undeniable that these techniques are helpful in relaxation, but they usually only help for a short period of time. Reducing stress so that you can relax can be an extremely difficult thing to do. There is rarely one technique or aspect of your life that can change in order to reduce the stress in your life. While individuals make look to bubble baths to change their stress level, they are forgetting a large part of stress management.
Exercising may seem like just one more thing to add on your daily to do list and may be the last thing you want to do when you are overworked and stressed already. Believe me, I get it. Stress can do horrible things to your body and if you let it go on long enough some of it can be extremely detrimental.
Exercise increases your endorphins-Endorphins are those feel good chemicals in your brain that boost you mood. High endorphin levels cause us to experience fewer negative effects of stress and they also lead to feelings of euphoria.
Meditation in motion- When we are stressed our minds are like a clogged sink. Thoughts pool up in our head and get stuck making it impossible for us to process anything. When you exercise, your mind is able to drain itself of those thoughts so it can focus on your body’s motions. As you resume those thoughts, you will be able to sort through them in a more clear and concise manner.
It can get you outside- Being cooped up inside has a tendency to maximize the stress in our lives. It’s amazing how much a little fresh air and sunshine can relax you. There have been studies done that show how being outside increases levels of serotonin which help to regulate your mood. Feeling sun on your skin and smelling fresh grass have also been known to elevate moods and have a relaxing effect.
Increase self-esteem– many times stress stems from feelings of inadequacy and poor self-image. Improving your health and toning your muscles will help to improve your self-confidence. Not only will you feel good about your body, but exercising can bring about feelings of accomplishment.
Once you decide to exercise in order to relieve some stress, you need to keep in mind that it’s not a one and done thing. You have to be persistent because you are not likely to feel the effects right away. Creating a consistent schedule to follow and you will be more likely to experience the benefits of exercise. However, you don’t have to participate in extremely vigorous exercise to experience the stress relieving benefits. Moderate to light exercise can have the same benefits. Go on daily walks with a friend or even work in your garden for some exercise. Have fun with it.
Sam Foster is a health writer with a passion for running, swimming, and cycling. When he’s not gearing up for his next Iron Man or triathlon he writes for St. Luke’s Hospital, one of the nation’s top hospitals in heart care.
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