We hear a lot about how exercise is good for you but I explore why and what other benefits we get for our well-being by doing exercise we enjoy.
It helps us with our body but also our minds. When we exercise we release a chemical called endorphin which gives us that buzz and positive feeling. So straight away this helps stress levels and also makes us feel good about ourselves doing something for our general well-being.
Pilates and Yoga
Pilates and Yoga are a great way of improving the core muscles but also to release everyday stress. When doing either of these fantastic exercises you are aware of your breathing and you breath out all the negative energy that is stored in your body.
Try this: be aware of your body right now. How are you sitting? Are you hunched or are your shoulders up to your ears? Are there any part of your body that feels tense? Let’s see…
Firstly, make sure you are in a quiet space with no distractions around you or noises from the TV etc. Calm music could help but it isn’t essential.
You can sit or lie down.
Shoulders: Lift your shoulders up to your ears and let go. Do this twice. When you lift them breath in and breath out when you let go. You may notice your shoulders may go lower than they were before. If they still feel tense and close to your ears do this a few more times. We hold a lot of stress on our shoulders so breath out everything that is bothering you in your out breath.
Neck: Bring your neck to you collar bone very gently on the in breath and out on the way back twice. Don’t make this movement fast but gentle.
Head: We are not moving our head for this but really focus on the head and feelings around the head. Is there any tension any where? Breath in and on the out blow away all the negative feelings and stress that is going around in your mind. See the problems in a balloon or any object you prefer that is flying away into the sky and is going further away from you. Create some distance from these problems and with time these problems may resolve by themselves or an idea to overcome it will come to you easily as your mind is clearer to take positive ideas.
Walking is a great way of gently getting all of the body moving and if you can get out into nature this is a fantastic chance to connect with mother earth.
If you live in a city or town we sometimes forget how to switch off from things that are going around us. Being in nature makes us relax without us knowing sometimes. When walking be aware of the sounds, the trees, the earth under your feet. Take a moment to stand and ground with the earth to reconnect. I do find standing on grass with no shoes really helps in the summer as you really feel this pull from the ground.
Relaxing and having time for yourself is so important. I know if you have a family time can sometimes be minimal or not a lot but even having 10 minutes a day to yourself can help you.
During the day I will take a few deep breathes whenever I need to relax or unwind from what is happening around me. This helps a lot. Straight away you are releasing stress, negative thoughts on the out breath.
Keeping your bedroom tidy and the rest of the house too really helps. Not to benefit others who visit but it to benefit you. When you walk into a cluttered room your mind doesn’t relax as subconsciously or consciously as its reading all the things that are in the room or do what I do which tries very hard to put a blind eye to it all.
Listening to calm music or if you live in nature being outside listening to the birds can relax you. Before you go to bed make sure you have some time unwinding without a TV playing or playing on your phone as all electrical goods stimulate our minds which leads us to not sleep. Before I go to bed I listen to a very calm song and I associate this song with sleeping. So soon after I listen to it I will drift off during or after the song. During the song I will take deep breathes in and out to release any stresses or thoughts in my head so I can unwind to sleep.