Your alarm goes off and you jump out of bed, grab a cup of coffee and head for the shower. Before you get out the door, you have kids, dogs, and maybe even a spouse to get ready
And that’s just the morning.
Our day to day lives are stressful enough, but then there are credit-card bills, computer problems, and 24-hour news shows broadcasting increasing worldwide tensions. Cell phones keep us close to our family and friends, but they also keep us close to work and people who need things from us. Add to that, what psychologists call major stressors such as losing a loved one, moving, changing jobs, or other large life event and you have a cocktail for stress and anxiety.
Stress is a way of life in our modern world, whether we like it or not.
Have you ever noticed that you eat more when you are stressed? It is common when people are first exposed to a stress to lose their appetite but when stress becomes chronic their appetite increases. This is one of the ways that scientists have been able to link our weight gain to how stressed out we are, but it goes much deeper than that.
It turns out that being stressed releases chemicals in our bodies that tend to increase our weight. These stress hormones were never meant to be turned on for a long time. The hormones (mostly cortisol) work well when a tiger jumps out at us but when it is running around in our bodies most of the time, due to the many stressors in our lives, it leads to weight gain.
Some call it exercise, but some call it using the stairs, riding my bike, or dancing. You basically Get Moving!
Not only are you being active (which tells your body that you are getting away from that tiger), but you are also releasing another set of chemicals that tell you that you are okay and everything is going to be fine.
Brain chemicals called endorphins are released when you exercise. These chemicals are responsible for the "runner's high" some people feel when they run. Endorphins help us feel calm and happy.
Exercise takes your concentration off of your daily worries and turns that focus to the game you are playing, the mountain you are trying to climb, or the friend you are out on a walk with. Like meditation, exercise takes you out of your head and puts the focus on your body and the present.
Regular exercise tends to increase self-confidence and contentment. Research has shown that exercise works for reducing anxiety and improving mood.[i]
Research has shown that exercise works for reducing anxiety and improving mood.[i]
Choose activities that you enjoy and can do regularly. Fitting activity into a daily routine can be easy — such as taking a brisk 10-minute walk to and from the parking lot, bus stop, or subway station. Or, join an exercise class. Keep it interesting by trying something different on alternate days. Every little bit adds up and doing something is better than doing nothing.
Do your best to do at least 10 minutes of activity at a time, shorter bursts of activity will not have as many health benefits. For example, walking the dog for 10 minutes before and after work or adding a 10-minute walk at lunchtime can add to your weekly goal. Mix it up. Swim, take a yoga class, garden or lift weights. To be ready anytime, keep some comfortable clothes and a pair of walking or running shoes in the car and at the office.
It's definitely been a journey to focus on natural health and wellness because some days I wildly succeed and some days I could eat the whole carton of ice cream. So I learn and grow and write and share. And as we stick together and encourage each other, we can reap the rewards! to Live younger longer and Look younger longer!