mind-body connection Sep 28, 2016
Everyone faces mental stress throughout their lives, in fact we live in a chronically stressed environment! Regardless of where it comes from, these types of stress can all have some serious physical and mental side effects if left untreated.
So, rather than let the stress eat away at you or turn to potentially harmful medication, you quickly and effectively clear out mental stress with a simple regimen of exercise. Read on to learn about all the amazing de-stressing benefits of exercise.
One of the greatest stress-fighting benefits of exercise is the release of endorphins, which are a type of hormone strongly tied with feelings of happiness and positivity. When you exercise, the physical activity triggers the centers of the brain that handle the production of this hormone and kick it into high gear.
Higher endorphin levels trigger a wide range of positive effects in your body, such as regulating your appetite, production of sex hormones, and a strengthening of your immune system.
All of these areas can suffer significantly when you experience stress, because stress releases another hormone called cortisol that can lower your sex drive, increase feelings of anxiety, and offset your natural appetite, as well as leave you feeling lethargic and uneasy.
Exercising not only stimulates the production of endorphins to make you mentally feel happier, but also helps your body to physically relax. When you experience mental stress, your body often becomes tense and rigid in different areas as a result of your impaired mindset.
This can result in a tightening of the shoulders and neck or even the legs, as your body is physically trying to prepare for action as part of the inherent “fight or flight” response that stress initiates.
Exercising forces your body to relax by releasing the tension in your muscles and retuning the natural fluidity of your body. It also serves as an outlet for excess nervous energy, which can also help your body to transition from a state of tension to one of relaxation.
Mental stress often manifests as feeling overwhelmed by a particular subject, to the point where it becomes the only thing you can think about at any given time. Exercise helps you shift your focus off the cause of your stress, disengaging your brain from fixating on that topic. It literally distracts your mind by forcing it to focus on the actions of your body, which stops you from engaging the areas of your brain that produce cortisol.
Once you can break your unhealthy concentration on the stressors in your life, you are able to focus on more positive thoughts and even gain a new perspective on the current situation. Mental stress commonly arises from overly focusing on the potential negative outcomes of a current situation, such as thinking you might get fired when you find out your boss has scheduled a private meeting with you.
Exercise breaks you out on this negative mindset and allows you to see all the other positive outcomes.
It’s not uncommon for mental stress to grow from, or turn into, feeling bad about yourself physically. For some, an inability to handle specific physical tasks results in mental stress, while others experience low self-esteem because the mental stress starts to wear away at confidence levels.
Exercising shows you how capable you are physically, enabling you to be proud of accomplishments such as running a mile or performing a certain number of pushups. When you feel good about yourself, you are able to further stimulate the release of endorphins and attain a mental state more resistant to stress.
Get out the mental funk! Visit the BODY SHOP and find the program that fits your personality and lifetyle.