Stress is a part of life. It is impossible to achieve a “stress-free” life. “Seven out of ten adults in the United States say they experience stress or anxiety daily… according to the most recent ADAA survey on stress and anxiety disorders.” (Physical Activity Reduces Stress) However, stress can be managed by with better health and wellness practices.
One great way to manage stress and naturally boost your mood is to get up and MOVE! Regular exercise can also lower your risk for depression. Studies show that sedentary behaviors, like sitting for long periods of time, are closely linked to depression. When you exercise, or even just take a quick break to stretch and move your body around, your brain produces endorphins, aka “feel-good chemicals.”
Exercising also produces a similar effect to meditation, which is another great tool to add to your stress management plan. It allows you to focus on one thing and helps rid the body of any tension you may be experiencing. As you exercise more, you may find yourself reacting in a calm, peaceful way during stressful situations.
Check out this short video on how exercising can rewire your brain.
So why are so many people still so stressed if all it takes is a little exercise?! With all of the hustle and bustle…go, go, go, it’s very easy to get into a work, eat, sleep routine. Some people may find it difficult to add a regular exercise routine to their busy lives because they are too exhausted. So how do we learn how to implement a new habit into our routine?
The answer is… baby steps. You must crawl before you can walk. Don’t overdo it. Slowly introduce new fitness routines into your daily life.
- Set SMART goals.
- Specific – I will reduce my stress levels with regular exercise.
- Measurable – I will aim to fit in 10 minutes of short burst training every day.
- Achievable – I will carve out time in my morning routine by waking up 10 minutes earlier every day.
- Relevant – By adding regular exercise into my routine, I will see better results with my stress management plan.
- Time Bounded – My stress levels will be lowered within a month and I will have obtained a better sense of well-being.
- Find an activity you enjoy. This can be anything that gets your heart pumping – walking, running, yoga, strength training, cycling, swimming, other outdoor activities, etc.
- Make some time for yourself. Carve out time in your day by using a planner or a reminder on your phone. You should always make your health and self-care a priority.
- Find some motivation. Some people even find it useful to use motivational techniques, like leaving little positive sticky notes on your bathroom mirror or watching a motivational video. Most often, people find a buddy to work out with. Do what works for you!
“Physical Activity Reduces Stress.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Web. May 2018 https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/stress/physical-activity-reduces-st