Last Updated on August 16, 2016 by Michael Brockbank
High levels of stress can do a number on a person. From increasing blood pressure to affecting thought processes, it can be one of the most damaging aspects for the human body. Unfortunately, it is one of the most common side effects of life in general. If you’re unable to reach certain fitness goals or lose weight around certain areas of your body, you may want to take a look at your level of stress.
How Stress Can Prevent Achieving Goals
For the moment, let’s set aside the health ramifications of stress. It’s virtually common knowledge that it can greatly impact how you function throughout the day. Because of the nature of what it does to you, it may actually be contributing to more than you realize.
Lack of Focus
When you’re suffering from high levels of stress, your focus is not as acute. This means you are more worried about other situations rather than trying to achieve goals. As a result, you’re less likely to achieve a variety of tasks you set for yourself in any given day. Although you know and understand certain things need to be addressed, it may be easy to put them off because of the anxiety you feel.
In contrast, exercise and fitness can actually help you regain that focus. Studies show how regular exercise reduces stress while improving cognitive abilities. The hard part is pushing past those feelings of anxiety in order to work out in the first place. For me, I wind up forgetting I was going to exercise when I start feeling high levels of stress. It’s kind of like a catch-22: You need exercise to keep focus, but you forget to exercise because you don’t have focus.
Lack of Ambition
A lot of people experience a lack of ambition when they feel anxious or worry about certain situations. All they can think about is the problem at hand. It’s easy to just sit in a computer chair and vegetate while in front of a computer monitor watching Netflix all day. Yes, this is one of my biggest problems.
In reality, I tend to feel much better if I am able to push past my anger and frustration and exercise like I plan. Just some days are more difficult to feel that ambition than others. However, the after effect is much more desirable than sitting here stewing in my emotions until I burst.
Wallowing in the Wrong Mentality
Many people will easily slip into the wrong mentality for fitness when they are feeling stress. For example, some will think to themselves, “nothing else is going right, so why should I bother?” I am speaking from personal experience on this point. There are many times when the lack of satisfaction within my life results in a bad attitude about everything else.
When you’re wallowing in the problems of life, it can be too easy to look at everything in a negative light. As difficult as this may sound, you need to identify when you start wallowing. You need to force yourself into the realization that one situation doesn’t have to impact life as a whole.
Understanding What Fitness Can Do Outside of Health
Fitness doesn’t merely have to be a way to keep in shape or lose weight. It can be a method that can help you face the day. While health benefits are one of the biggest topics related to fitness, it can actually do more for you than build muscle or burn body fat.
Something You Can Control
Unlike many other situations in your life, fitness is one of those things you can have ultimate control over. You can decide whether you want to be in better shape or not. It’s this sense of control that helps you overcome high levels of stress developed by situations you can’t do anything about. Bill collectors can keep calling looking for money, but they can’t stop you from breaking a personal record in push-ups.
Many people will use fitness to vent their frustrations in life. Not only does exercise allow you to burn off the energy stored when you are suffering from anxiety, but it also allows the brain to release feel-good hormones. The more you work out, the more dopamine is released. This is the component that affects the pleasure centers of the brain. While exercising, you essentially start feeling good about your situation while keeping fit.
Taking a Break
Some will use exercise routines as a way to take a break from reality, even if it’s for just a few moments. This can give you time to collect your thoughts while improving your overall physique. Even a 10-minute session to work up a sweat may have an impact in how the rest of your day unfolds. The point is, giving yourself time to focus on you can easily dissolve a great deal of stress.
Not everyone can exercise their worries away. In severe situations, it may not be a bad idea to seek therapy. After all, a healthy mind promotes a healthy body – and vice versa. You shouldn’t have to suffer if there is a way someone can help you that doesn’t include substance abuse. Even simply talking to a good friend about your problems can be therapeutic. Bare in mind that fitness doesn’t just center around muscle development. It’s also a way to improve your mind. This means that even your mental health constitutes as part of keeping yourself fit.
Your mental state can greatly impact your physical health whether you work out or not. From sleep deprivation to irrational thought, it all effects how your body functions. This is why it’s vastly important that you keep your mind as healthy and clear as possible.
Before you try to carry to much of that daily stress, try to convince yourself to exercise. Go for a walk, run, swim or even pump some iron. The more you sweat, the more likely you are to melt away a great deal of that anxiety. Don’t let life’s little issues prevent you from improving yourself. Your goals can be met if you push yourself through the issues that seem too great to deal with at the moment.