But why does exercise relive stress?
When you are straining your brain over some task or problem the neurons of your brain function more intensely. As they do this, they build up toxic waste (stress chemicals) products that can cause foggy thinking.
By exercising, you speed the flow of blood through your brain and body, moving these waste products and stress chemicals faster. Exercising also helps to improve your blood flow so that even when you are not exercising, waste and stress chemicals are eliminated.
In fact, the bigger the muscles you exercise, the less stress you will bear. That's because exercise releases physical tension in the muscles and the high blood flow cleans the body of stress chemicals.
Tip: Exercise in water to reduce stress even more. Why? Because you are more buoyant on water; gravity takes a much gentler toll on your body, so the tension created in your muscles just by holding you up gets released. For the ultimate stress release, exercise in water. Or meditate in water. Or laugh in water.
However, nothing beats a hard-core work out at the gym or a jog every morning. (Why do you think Anil Ambani goes for a jog every morning without fail? To cope with stress! What else?)
You don't have the time to take exercise? Well you think you don't. You will have to sneak exercise into your life. Here's how:
If you are sitting at your desk now, take a deep breath in and let it out like a sigh. Feels better already, doesn't it?
Sit up and making sure your feet are flat on the floor, raise your arms straight up and join your hands together with your arms as near to your ears as possible. And stretch; really S-T-R-E-T-C-H. Release your arms now and relax. Repeat at least twice.
Body twists are good if you're feeling blue, anxious or fearful. (Explore yoga if you want more benefits.)
Sit on the edge of your chair with left side facing the back of the chair. Your feet and knees are together and need to stay that way throughout the pose. Place your hands on the back of the chair or as near to it as you can get. Keep your feet and knees together. Take a deep breath in, allow you shoulders to rest downwards as you do. Exhale and twist your upper body round to your left to look behind you and go as far as is comfortable. Keep your face aligned with your chest. When twist to the left push with your right hand and pull with your left. Repeat the other side.
Now I bet you're feeling better, feeling brighter and more 'up for it'? Are you not?
Having got a taste for exercise capitalize on it and start thinking how you can build more walking into your day. A walk at lunch time, walking up stairs instead of taking the lift or escalator, a walk around the office or to someone else's office. There are countless ways for you to do this.
Besides these, you must try to make exercise a part of your daily routine. Its hard and boring in the start, I know but you just have to make time for exercise.
Tip: Sex is also considered one of the best techniques one can use to release stress. It’s exercise and much more both for your body and your mind!
The amazing stress-reducer that you have with you right now is your breathing. That's right. The method in which you take air into your body is an ESSENTIAL part of you releasing stress and becoming more relaxed.
Why does breathing matter?
Every cell of your body needs oxygen. It needs oxygen to stay strong and healthy. It needs oxygen to heal, should something get out of balance. You can usually go several hours without having fluids and be OK.
You can go a month without food (not that I'm suggesting that you do so!) and still be OK. You cannot go 5 minutes without breathing ... without serious brain damage.
When you do not breathe deeply and fully, your body -- subtly -- begins to tense up. It does this because it knows that it is being put into danger. If you breathe shallowly or hold your breath, you are setting the stage for your body to become very tense, very stressed.
Now, begin to notice your own breathing patterns. What happens when you begin to get tense? If you are like most people, you start to let your breathing go shallow and quick.
What happens if you have a shock? If you are like most people, you intake breath rapidly then hold it. In other words, you STOP breathing. Since breathing is SO essential to your well-being -- and very life -- the LAST thing you would want to do is come in the way of your deep, full pattern of breathing.
The solution is simple!
All you need to do is focus on a slow, deep exhale. A slow count of 4 works very well for this. Then pause a second. Then inhale with a slow, deep breath to the slow count of 4. Then, pause again a second ... and repeat the process.
Oxygen is the matter of life. Giving yourself plenty of oxygen allows all of you – physical and mental, to function more effectively. Giving yourself plenty of oxygen naturally allows stress to be released and relaxation to be increased. Breathing out fully, then breathing in fully allows you to energize.
Before you begin to practice, please notice how you are feeling right now? How stressed are you? How tense is your body? How relaxed are you?
Then, start to take 10 slow deep breaths -- focus on exhaling first ... 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 ... pause ... now inhale slowly and deeply ... 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 ... pause and repeat 10 times ...
Now, notice how you feel. What do you notice? How is this different from how you felt before you started the breathing exercise?
Please take time -- at least once an hour -- to take 10 slow, deep breathing cycles? Then notice -- How do you feel now? If you feel that you are not as de-stressed and relaxed as you would wish, just take 10 more slow, deep breaths.
How do you feel now?
To create enhanced stress reduction, begin to notice your breathing throughout the day. Specifically, notice when you start to change the rhythm from slow and deep. This is important: Catch this when it just is beginning to change.
Now, revert to your pattern of breathing slowly and deeply. Take another breathing break -- take those ten slow deep breaths to the count of 4. Notice how quickly you begin to relax as you do so.
That's not as silly as it sounds. Medical research has shown that laughter decreases blood pressure and heart rate, increases oxygen in the blood, creates an enzyme that protects your stomach from stress, and strengthens the immune system.
hard (I know, it’s a little shocking!):
Research has found that thinking about the things you haven’t done causes most stress. If you've done all you can upfront, you will avoid most situations that cause you stress.
Studies show that eating breakfast is one of the healthiest habits we can adopt. Yet, most people do not pay attention to their breakfast and some don’t even bother having it. Having a good breakfast is very very healthy! If you do not have a healthy breakfast start now!
Start something you always wanted, it can be working in the garden (amazing) or learning how to ski dive (even more amazing), working out is good, running or swimming, in fact almost any kind of regular physical activity is good.
Do these things, and over time you will be in much better control of your stress. Please note that there is no quick-fix solution to solving the problem of stress. To get rid of you stress takes time and effort.
For example: Incorporating exercise into your day is pains taking and very hard for many people. However, if you want to conquer stress you will have to work towards it.
The above stated remedies are all ways to deal with stress that already exists. However, one should try to slowly and gradually work towards not letting stress occur in the first place.
How to do this? I cannot tell you. Everyone’s situation is different. You have to find out what gives you stress and work on it. You might want to consult a psychiatrist or a take up meditation. These will help you eliminate the real cause of stress.
This only covers you and your problems with stress. In the next section we have talked about what causes stress in a workplace. Understanding this will help you create a much better work environment if you are a manager or just help improve your working environment.
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