Last Updated on May 17, 2016 by Michael Brockbank
Everyone has things in their life that cause a great deal of stress. For me, it’s everything in my life that is increasing my blood pressure. From career to children, it’s difficult to get a grip on the things of which you have little control over. It’s times like these when exercising can be of great benefit. Most people will associate physical fitness with losing weight. However, exercising helps as a form of therapy when life throws a bag of lemons at you.
How Exercising Helps Focus Your Mental State
Losing weight and getting into better physical condition is an honorable goal for exercise. It can also be used to strengthen the mind and offer clarity when things have you stressed out. You might be amazed by how much better you feel once you work yourself into a sweat with a pair of dumbbells. Here are seven ways that I find exercise to be helpful to me when things go awry.
- It’s Controllable
Exercise and fitness are some of the things you have total control of in this world. When things that are out of your hands suddenly take a turn for the worse, exercising helps to give you back some resemblance of control. This can be influential in modifying a great deal of your thought processes. Instead of wallowing within the misery of any given situation, working out can help rebuild the self-esteem. This could prevent you from sinking deeper into a depression centered around something you can’t maintain. For me, I feel greater accomplishment while working out. Because no matter what anyone does or says, it’s something that no one can take away from me.
- It Gives You Something Else to Focus On
Lately, I’ve found myself increasing physical activities as it gives me something else to focus on rather than the problem. I’m not saying that avoiding issues is the right course of action. However, exercising helps give your mind a break from worrying about the situation. I’ve found that it makes facing various circumstances much more tolerable. If you’re going to give your mind a break for a moment, what better way is there than physical fitness? Drugs and alcohol are rife with their own severe complications. I might as well save the money and trouble that comes with substance abuse and ride my bike for a couple of miles.
- Releases Endorphins
The longer you work out, the more endorphin is released into your body. This is the body’s natural pain killer, and it can stimulate the pleasure center of the mind. This is greatly beneficial to combat severe depression, anger and anxiety. These types of emotions can further complicate the situation by reducing your capacity for rational thought. Intensive workouts may possibly eliminate those feelings, which gives your mind a better chance of making the best decisions for any given circumstance.
- Increases Blood Flow to the Brain for Enhanced Thought
While endorphin can be helpful, increasing the blood flow to the brain is another benefit of fitness. This is directly related to enhanced cognitive abilities. There have been numerous studies demonstrating how increased exercising helps improve memory and other parts of the brain. In one particular study, there was great promise behind physical activity improving IQ levels – your capacity for problem solving skills. While these studies are based on long-term routines, there is potential to help clear the mind for the immediate issues you face.
- Counteracts Various Physical Elements Produced By Stress
Stress can complicate the body in a myriad of ways. Exercising helps to counteract many of these problems that could arise. For example, stress increases the risk of heart disease while exercising helps reduce it. Stress can alter sleep patterns while exercising may help correct them. In a sense, it’s a way to balance your life and reduce some of the damages that can be done by severe anxiety. Although this may not make you completely immune to stress, exercising can greatly reduce it’s impact on your body.
- Eases Tension within Key Muscle Groups
Muscle tension is quite common in those who live high-anxiety lifestyles. For me, it’s all about the stiffness in the neck that causes headaches. Right now, it’s moved across my back. Many of my muscles are like a solid rock thanks to the level of stress I am currently under. However, most of these issues are easily dealt with by working out. For me, exercising helps loosen those muscles up in order to prevent aches and pains later on. Usually, I’ll commit to stretching and various cardio exercises to reduce the muscle strain.
- Can Be Done From Anywhere
One thing you need to keep in mind is that working out can be done from virtually anywhere. Whether you’re walking a mile during your lunch break or walking in place in the office because the weather outside is terrible, there is nothing stopping you. Even if you sit in place and flex different muscle groups for as long as you can, it’s all beneficial. Don’t assume that you can’t exercise because of your current location. Although it may be difficult to break out into doing a set of push-ups in the middle of a meeting with your boss, it doesn’t mean you can’t do it once the meeting is over.
It can be difficult to face challenges throughout the day, especially when it seems that everything is going south in your life. Instead of succumbing to the anxiety and wallowing in self-pity, get on your feet and do a 20-minute workout. You may be surprised by how much better you feel after you’ve worked yourself up into a sweat.