Stress is our brains response to demand. Every day, everyone deals with some form of stress. It comes in many forms and can work for us or against us.
The stats are striking. In 2019, 33% of people report being extremely stressed while 77% of Americans suffer from physical health issues linked to stress! Two common stress management tools are exercise and meditation.
In addition to exercise acting as a distraction from stressors, it triggers the release of endorphins that result in feelings of wellbeing and pleasure. Exercise also stimulates chemicals (serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine) in the brain that play a significant role in regulating our mood.
Meditation practices and mindfulness in particular has been shown to be hugely effective in coping with stress, anxiety and depression. This occurs through positive changes being made to the brain structure associated with controlling emotions and boosting focus.
Along with incorporating both exercise and mindfulness, somedays we need something else when we feel a bit snowed under. Here are 3 things that you can do if this is case, that could prove useful!
You may be throwing your eyes thinking how these suggestions could possibly work?
We’ve all seen wild animals or even dogs shake uncontrollably after a stressful event…An act of letting go, shaking is a way of releasing built up tension from your body and mind. Seeing as you can shake however you please, you can’t get it wrong! Simply put, shaking taps into the parasympathetic nervous system signalling the brain to relax. As a bonus, shaking is a method of freeing toxins from your body due to the tremors activating the lymphatic system. For a quick demo, check out this video . Along with slotting it into your day, you could perhaps include 60-90secs of shaking into your warm ups for training sessions as a ‘wake up’ call to your body before you start!
Next up we have shouting, or more specifically ‘Primal Scream Therapy’. This is quite simply standing in a strong, warrior like stance and letting it rip which is said to release anger and frustration from the body. Believe it or not shouting is an ancient form of Chinese medicine. The Chinese believe that daily shouting benefits both the lungs and liver! Another reason to get to grips with shouting is that it can increase physical strength…If you are familiar with power lifting, weightlifting, tennis or play a contact sport, you will know it is not uncommon to release a grunt or shout upon exertion. Research has found this act can be a powerful tool in force production. Worth a bash the next time you find yourself biting your lip or after a long day. I would suggest you do this within your own four walls for obvious reasons!
Swimming is trending since Covid made its presence felt and will continue to do so. We all know someone who took it up over the last 2 years. Aside from the invigorating feeling one gets from a dip in the ocean, studies have shown that cold water immersion can boost immune system functioning! In addition to this, there was one study completed in 2008 that researched the role of hydrotherapy and its effects on depression. The suggested time is 2-3 minutes. The results stated that cold water sends impulses from nerve endings to the brain which could result in an anti-depressive effect! A trip to the beach is not required, hit the showers or at least finish your morning scrub cold! The way I look at it, no matter what happens during the rest of my day at least something has been achieved through a quick test of mental fortitude and staying present!
Move Often, Feel Good!
Founder & CEO of Be Ready Training | Strength & Conditioning Coach