Overwhelming stress and grief will take their toll on nearly every person who walks the face of this earth at one point or another. Finding new, healthy, and positive ways to deal with these situations is critical to our health and well-being.
Exercise is a game changer for those in need of healthy stress relief. This free form of therapy can change your life from the inside out.
Let me show you how….
#1 – Positive Endorphins
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Positive endorphins can change your day and take you from a negative mood to a positive mood in less than 20 minutes. Even a short walk has been scientifically proven to change your brain. New and emerging research also shows that movement helps strengthen weak mitochondria (the powerhouse of our cells) or it can help establish new and stronger mitochondrial and kill off the old and weak. Exciting times are on the horizon as we learn all the amazing brain benefits of fitness.
#2 – Added Energy
Many days I’ve been exhausted, and nothing works to help me feel more awake. Naps and coffee just don’t end up energizing me, but ultimately I feel more tired. Going to workouts sounds counterintuitive, but the energy you produce in the gym reacts in your entire system and gives you a rush of energy that can last for hours. Your body is designed to move, and if you aren’t moving it, you are missing out on the truest form of natural energy.
#3 – Anger Management
I always joke that when I lost my husband and trained for my first marathon – people in the neighborhood must have thought I had Tourette Syndrome. I would get so angry during my workouts and then afterward I would feel a tremendous sense of peace. Use exercise as a time to express any anger you are holding onto in your life. I would walk out the door of my home at the end of my rope, and throughout my run or my gym time, I’d find some peace and enough empowerment to make it through my day for another 24 hours.
#4 – Alone Time/Peace
Sometimes what we need most is to simply get some alone time to ourselves to work out our personal issues. I’ve personally found that my hour at the gym will provide me some of the best moments of my day. I put on my headphones in and allow the music to help me get lost for a short while. My workouts are my time, and I deserve that.
#5 – Empowerment & Strength
Tap into your inner strength and become empowered through exercise. Build your strength by lifting weights and watch it empower your entire life. I like to say it sets my soul on fire. A strong body helps create a stronger mind.
#6 – Health
This one is obvious. Your overall health during stressful times will improve if you use exercise as a coping mechanism. I love hearing from clients that they had good blood work updates with their doctors, improved mobility and overall well-being. You are worth it!
#7 – Serotonin Release
Exercise can do a lot to improve your mood — and across the board, studies have shown that regular exercise can be an as effective treatment for depression as antidepressant medication or psychotherapy.
#8 – Stress Release
See #1, #3, #4, #5, and #7. All of these benefits lead to a big reduction in overall stress on the body. The “fight or flight” reaction we have while exercising will help condition your body to deal with stress better as you gain strength.
#9 – Clear the Clutter
I remember the fog that crept over my brain after my late husband passed away. The widowed community calls this Widow Brain, and it is a very real issue. I just could not think – let alone deal with the fine details of business and life. I learned very quickly that for a few hours AFTER my workout my brain would clear. I found that thinking became less painful and I was somewhat productive. This is an enormous deal to people who are dealing with grief or overwhelming stress. Our bodies natural defenses are what make our brain cloudy, and this can often lead to frustration and sadness. By clearing the clutter and finding myself productive – even for a short time, my crushing disappointment in who I was post-loss started to lessen. I realized I was dealing with a lot and gave myself the grace to heal.
#10 – Self Love
In hard times we have to remember to put ourselves at the top of our priority list. You can’t expect to take care of those around you if you don’t take care of yourself. I always tell myself that I love my family ENOUGH to put myself first. Be kind to you and decide that the very best person you become gives the very best to our world.
Pick up a copy of Michelle’s new book, Healthy Healing, and learn how and why fitness matters during life’s hardest moments.