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By Shane Young | March 15, 2019 |
What does stress have to do with your fitness? Absolutely everything. Wellness doesn’t just happen by flipping a single switch, like joining a gym or trying a new diet, no matter how motivated you are. It’s all part of a continuum, fueled by positive thinking and gradually adopting more healthful habits.
And here’s a little secret: Your SF personal trainers at Ascend Body are also human! They experience stress just like everyone else, and search for sustainable ways to cope just like you do. In addition to joining their small group fitness classes to increase your endorphins, your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, here’s some of their suggestions for not letting stress get the better of you.
Restore your spirit in nature: Shane Young
My biggest form of stress relief is getting out into nature, which is why restoration is one of our four cornerstones of fitness and wellness at Ascend Body.
Science has proven that grounding the body by connecting to the earth is amazingly beneficial, with anti-inflammatory effects from negatively charged antioxidant electrons entering the body and neutralizing positively charged free radicals.
Exposure to nature contributes to your physical wellbeing by reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones, which makes you feel better emotionally. For me, there’s nothing more deeply healing and relaxing than sitting on the ground with your back against a tree and doing some deep, meditative breathing.
Everyone is so stressed out running around in our little concrete jungle that we forget to go out into nature and relax with Mother Earth. Anxiety is something I have struggled with, and getting out into nature has been the most helpful cure, next to my meditation practice.
Getting out into nature — anytime and anywhere you can — is an easily achievable dose of wellness with instant gratification.
Embracing imperfection: Danielle Repetti
“I stopped trying to look for perfect everywhere and started embracing the messy parts of my life. Life isn’t Instagram-perfect all the time; and we have to remember that, many times, the people who seem like they have it together just…don’t. Mistakes, failures, and hardships are something everyone experiences, and those are the things that shape our lives and reveal new paths meant for us to follow. Instead of waiting for the perfect job, or the perfect body, or the perfect partner, I decided that I was going to start living my best life today. One day at a time. Because the best life we have – is the one happening right now!”
A daily dose of mindfulness: Justin Biddle
“I’m a natural skeptic, so when I started a daily mindfulness meditation practice, I didn’t that 10 minutes a day could affect any real change or that I would see any benefits. But I’ve noticed a significant decrease in my baseline stress level.
Stress is never going to be completely eliminated, but taking any time to sit and just experience our thoughts, emotions, and sensations is a great way to start reducing the stress we have, and to start being better equipped to deal with the stress that is always going to be there.
For anyone that is interested in starting a practice, I would highly recommend the Waking Up App with Sam Harris. It includes a 50-day introductory daily 10-minute meditation ‘course’ that is great for anyone who has never meditated before.”
The basics: exercise, eating, and sleep: Mike De Lange
Choosing activity and movement is my best method for managing stress. Getting a good sweat going from a good body pump usually helps me forget about the cares of my day. And instead of adding to my stress with poor eating habits, I find the activity of making my own healthy food is calming. Chopping veggies requires a steady hand, and I always feel more accomplished after I’ve prepared a nutritional meal.
I also recommend napping! I enjoy sleep very much, and if I’m able to grab a 30-60 minute nap, I feel refreshed for the rest of my day. If naps don’t fit your daily routine, you can optimize your night’s sleep by turning off devices, and unplugging from work and social media. If you have trouble getting to sleep, spend a few minutes reading in bed, especially material that you might find boring!
Mind over matter: Daniel Martinez
“Stress ebbs and flows in life, and you never know when it will greet you. There is no magic pill or one-way-for-everyone solution, so rather than avoiding, I focus on managing my response to stress. Although I’m a strong proponent of meditation, incorporating rational thinking is another powerful tool we can incorporate into our daily routines. Stressing over things beyond the scope of our control robs us of the present moment. Understanding that we have control over how we react to stress can keep us grounded and active in the present.
Take a moment (15-30 seconds) and a deep breath. Let feelings go through and past you, like a gentle wave, by focusing on keeping a steady diaphragmatic breathing pattern. When you return your focus to the stressful situation, take charge of the things you can control.
This rational approach is a skill we can practice. It requires remembering that we always have the option to be proactive. We can choose to address the things, situations and feelings that generate stress and we can also choose to let go of those feelings generated by things outside of our control.
Find a system or approach that works for you. With intention and practice, it eventually becomes second nature and you will attain a greater sense of clarity, calm, and well being.”
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