Stress - is it all in the mind?
Just a short one today
"I'm in a bit of a rush and trying to do 20 things at once"
"I've been running around like a headless chicken"
"I haven't stopped all day"
"This is all getting on top of me"
Do any of those sound familiar?
We all lead busy lives. And often that can lead to stress. Stress in itself isn't a bad thing - all animals live in a stressful environment of one sort or another. It even provokes a physical reaction, changing our body chemistry so we are ready to deal with a potential threat.
But as we all know, living in that heightened state for any length of time isn't good for us, and in fact, it can have a detrimental affect on our health. We can get headaches, stomach pains, elevated blood pressure, chest pains and poor sleep patterns. It can also exacerbate other illnesses or diseases we may be suffering from.
Unfortunately, some people turn to alcohol, smoking or drugs to try and deal with their stress - which in turn will have their own impacts on our health.
Instead, exercise has been found to be a great stress reliever. So much so, its even worth finding time in your busy life for it - the benefits are that significant:
An increase in endorphins - you know those moments of heady elation? That's endorphins at work in your body. You can get it from going for a run, playing a game of tennis or even just going for a strenuous walk in the countryside, or a multitude of other fun activities.
Clears the mind - if you throw yourself into a physical activity, you will often find that your mind stops worrying about all the other stuff that is going on in your life. Whether it's laps of your local pool, going for a bike ride, or a fast game of squash - you will need to focus yourself for an hour or two on something other than the things that are stressing you out.
Improves your mood - not just in the short term, where being outdoors can make you feel better, or knowing you've done something for yourself will make you happier. But also longer term - you will sleep better, you will be more relaxed, and you may also feel more self-confident, especially if you have pushed your body to its limits.
So, take some time for yourself. Find a sport or physical activity that you love and go do it. Put it in your diary so you don't forget about it or plan something else for that time. Start slowly, but build yourself up. And even better - do it with other people: with friends, with your partner, with your kids, or even make new friends who love the same sport/exercise.