It’s pretty obvious that exercise is excellent for your physical health, but did you know that it can work wonders for your mental health as well? Here are three main reasons (of many) why exercise has been proven to decrease stress:
Exercise has the potential to not only become a habit, but a safe haven that we turn to after a bad day. While we may not have a lot of positive constants throughout the day, exercise can become one positive constant that we can always use as a tool to escape from our stress. The meditation and focus on body’s movements helps to silence our brains.
Exercise also induces the release of the brain’s feel-good chemical, endorphins. Endorphins contribute to what is commonly called a ‘runner’s high’. A runner’s high is a feeling that is usually described by runners after they exercise as euphoric, pleasurable, or satisfactory. It is not just for runners; it can be felt after any type of intense exercise.
Finally, when all is said and done, exercise contributes to better rest. The best sleep is achieved in the absence of stress. Because exercise is a stress reliever (and makes us tired), we will find falling into our pillows just that much easier at night. As a byproduct, we will be more energized to tackle the next day with a good attitude.
Can’t get a workout in, or aren’t physically able to exercise? Not to worry, there are so many other ways you can de-stress throughout the day!
Do something you enjoy. Finding time to do something you enjoy will lighten up your day! Finding enjoyment can put an entire day into perspective, and can make the things that cause our stress feel less significant. If you can’t think of something you enjoy, search for a new hobby.
Spend time with friends and family. Forget an apple a day, what about a friend a day? Opening time to social interactions with loved ones, and those deeper relationships are highly rewarding, and make us feel accepted and supported.
Help someone else. Sometimes when we are worried most about ourselves, helping someone else makes us feel much better about our own situations. Helping others with a heart in the right place makes us happy.
Remember to laugh. Laughing is good for the soul. It has been medically proven that laughter can relieve stress, improve your immune system, increase personal satisfaction, among other benefits. Find a comic, a show, or youtube video that you can use to put the stress on pause, and cheer up your day!
Having a healthy, happy, and clear mind is a huge step in adding more enjoyment into your day. My hope is that everyone in the PK community could make room in their lives for the excellent practice of de-stressing.
Here’s to a happier week,
PK Fitness Program Coordinator