Many things can cause stress. It can be caused by one big event or situation in your life. Or it might be a build-up of lots of smaller things.
Stress often occurs when you worry about something, feel under lots of pressure or face big changes in your life. It can also build up if you are going through a period of uncertainty or you feel like you don't have any control over certain situations.
Fortunately, you can take some simple steps to reduce stress. One of the best things being EXERCISE!
Here’s how exercise helps clear your mind:
1. Increased Endorphins
You've probably heard the hype around endorphins. They are your body's natural pain killers and when released, they give you a noticeable "high".
Long periods of moderate to high intensity exercise increase the release of endorphins, which is why you'll often feel a lift in your spirits after a workout. leaving you less likely to feel stressed.
2. Fight or Flight
Fight or flight is your natural, pre-programmed reaction to any stressful situation. The problem, however, is that much of today's stress doesn't require either physical fighting or running, but your body still provides the chemicals for it. This can leave you feel antsy and stressed out.
The best and most logical way to relieve this feeling is to actually do some exercise. Sprint it out, lift weights or go for a long bike ride. It's how your body was meant to respond.
3. Rhythm and Flow
Some exercise, like running, cycling or lifting, lets you get into a rhythm. That rhythmic flow of a repeating action relaxes your mind. It can help clear your head after a stressful day.
4. Human interaction
Not everyone chooses to exercise solo. Attending a spin class, joining a boot camp or going on a group run not only helps you get your daily exercise in. but also lets you interact with others who are probably experiencing the similar stress of modern-day life. This human interaction will help you release some of the negativity that is associated with stress and will make you feel less alone in your problems.
5. Better Sleep
Feeling stressed and not being able to sleep can be a vicious cycle. Lack of sleep can increase your stress and making it even harder to catch up on sleep the next night. Exercise not only helps break that cycle by better enabling you to handle stress in the first place, it also helps you feel tired at night so you can fall into a deep sleep without all the tossing and turning.
6. An Organised Life
Stress can be brought on by a lack of organisation and planning, whether it's in your work life or home life. Following a workout plan, where you set regular, weekly goals and ultimately have a sense of achievement, will help you transfer those skills to other areas. And If your stress isn't caused by scheduling, just knowing that you have a stress-busting workout on your calendar a few times a week will help put your mind at ease.
Next time you're feeling stressed, don't reach for alcohol or comfort food, give exercise a try instead. It may just be what you need to unwind, relax and clear your head!