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Exercising to Reduce Stress
Stress is the response in your body and brain when there is a threat to your safety and wellbeing.
The threat could be real or imagined, but the response in your body is always real. Your body tenses and prepares to move in order to take care of the threat. The whole purpose of all of those changes in your body is to get you back to the opposite state, the state of being well.
An Overall State of Well Being
Well is not when everything is going the way you want, it’s when you are calm, clear, and confident you can stay safe and well through the challenges.
Those challenges, called stressors, can come from changes in your environment, relationships, job, or finances. These are external stressors. They can also come from internal sources like when you are feeling pain, tired, bored, depressed, or anxious.
Stress is not a problem. It is a critical part of surviving and thriving. It is the wake-up call that alerts you of danger and prepares you for action. Without the stress response, you would not jump out of the way when a car was heading for you, look for food when you were hungry, seek activities you are passionate about, or nurture connections with others.
Stress becomes a problem when we stay in that state. It is meant to be a temporary state. When you get stuck in that state it’s called chronic stress, which is linked, either directly or indirectly, to nearly all of our modern-day diseases and health issues.
Some stressors are in your control, some are not, but what is always in your control is your ability to use the stress response to get back to being well. Since your body is prepared to move, the way to do that is to move your body in a way that shifts your whole person back to the state of being well.
Is No Pain, No Gain True?
Not all movement restores a state of well, some perpetuate the stress response. This is especially true for our most common ways to exercise, which promote the idea that pain means progress and it only counts if it’s exhausting. Exercise, whether you are doing it or feeling guilty for not doing it, becomes a source or rather than a solution to stress.
If even hearing the word exercise triggers emotions of guilt, dread, or overwhelm, know that is caused by exercise that is not designed for health and wellbeing.
When you want to be healthy, you need exercise that is specifically created to restore you to a state of being well now. When you know how to move to Be Well Now, exercise is transformed into a way to stay out of chronic stress and strengthens your self-motivation skills for whole-person health.