Actively Managing Stress
Being active actually is a solution to stress! Stress is defined as, “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.” According to the journal Human Resource Management, when people are short on time and have what feels like a million things going on, research shows hitting the gym is the first thing to be dropped off of the “to do list”. Yet, IT IS the one thing on the list that can actually help you remain focused, feel more confident, more energised, sleep better and be less stressed. Being active gives you a chance to mentally disconnect from the tension created from your mind sending tons of racing thought on all the things that you feel you need to do. I like to call it “Meditation in Motion”.
9 out of 10 Australians suffer stress, with work being the chief cause, according to a poll by Lifeline Australia which found that levels of anxiety have shot up in the past year and the modern “workaholic mind” is to blame.
I bring this topic up because to be honest, who isn’t feeling stressed? There is a lot to learn from our thought patterns and how we can change them and our mood by adding a few jumps to our day, getting more oxygen into our body, and physically working off what’s bothering us. It doesn’t take long to minimize stress by exercising either. A series of a 4 minute Tabata, or a mad dash sprint will make a big difference. It can also prevent a big binge at the end of the day. Instead of thinking that glass of wine or three will help, or that pastry or sugary treat will make you feel “calm”- STOP and do 20 squats or drop down and do a few push ups, or put your trainers on and hit the sidewalk and see how fast you can go.
I’m not just making this stuff up either. The Mayo Clinic, which is ranked the number 1 Best Hospital in the Nation-USA has included an large portion dedicated to exercise and stress relief in a book they wrote which by the way was ranked #1 New York Times Best seller. Their research and studies reflect, when you concentration on your body’s movements you start to forget the irritations of the day, you shed your tension and release your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Even in the Fitness Australia journal there are articles about how 1 in 5 individuals ages 16-85 will experience a mental health condition each year and how exercise can help.
Stress, is listed as a mental health condition. Under the Australian Medicare Program with a GP referral, a rebate is applicable for speaking with a cognitive behavioural therapist to talk about ways to minimize stress if exercise alone isn’t enough.
My final thoughts. Sometimes we get stressed because we are taking care of everyone else except ourselves and we don’t even realise it. The pattern of doing more for others than ourselves needs to change. Get your pen out (or down load an ap that has a calendar that lets you make a permanent, appointment) and write “ME TIME”- This is the time you need to dedicate to yourself for doing your workout, or planning your meals. Only when you have your health fully in check should you be going out of your way to help others. Be SELFISH, I give you permission 🙂