Your mind, your body, and stress
We’re under stress every day
Some of us have so much stress, we regularly can’t sleep through the night. Or we can’t focus for more than a few moments, or our stomachs are upset after every meal.
Prolonged stress destabilizes the balance between the two important branches of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), among other long term negative effects.
Stress is both mental and physical
We may be worried about a family situation and our thoughts alone may elevate our stress level (1).
Or, we may eat a poor diet which puts our body under stress, causing up and down energy during the day (2).
So, stress management techniques should combine both the mental and the physical. This is a key factor in relaxing both your mind and body.
Steps to Relax Your Mind
The good news is that there are many easy to implement, effective and enjoyable ways to calm your mind. Here are three options:
Exercise helps your mind relax. You don’t need to run a marathon. A short walk will provide alot.
Recent research shows that exercise has noticeable benefits for your mind and mental health (3).
The physical benefits of exercise have been widely confirmed by research as well (4): increased energy, weight control, reducing the risk of many chronic diseases, among many benefits.
Better yet, exercise outdoors. You’ll feel even more revitalized and energetic (5). Spending that time outside is a two for one bonus, a great ROI.
Words like ‘breathing techniques’ and especially ‘meditation’ have become buzzwords over the last couple of years.
Some people have a reasonable degree of skepticism regarding how the benefits of meditation can make serious differences in their health.
But it really works, notwithstanding some common perceptions.
In short, meditation can be a valuable tool in improving mental health and changing behavior patterns.
Many of us with demanding professions have barely enough time to exercise and sleep.
But a hobby, or something you do strictly for your own enjoyment, is a proven way to calm your mind. Think of it like an off ramp from work, a way to combat mental fatigue.
It is the nature of a high-performance executive to want to constantly improve. An executive’s mind is always churning and focusing on the next goal.
But what if developing a hobby or creative outlet would allow you to tackle every day challenges fresh and invigorated?
Applying some structured time to enjoyment outside of work sharpens and relaxes the mind.
One of the best places to start is thinking about something you enjoy just for its own sake. Or maybe something you enjoyed before life’s demands escalated or when you were growing up.
Maybe you’ve always loved painting, playing an instrument, or you’ve wanted to try your hand at gardening. Give it a shot and take your mind away from your everyday concerns.
Depending on the level of stress in a given day, relaxing your mind may feel like an impossible task. You may feel as though stress and worry are just the cost of doing business.
That never needs to be the case. You do not need to sacrifice your mental wellbeing in order to win at life.
Any of the previously mentioned strategies are a great place to start on the road to being better and healthier. You just need to take the first small steps to get started.