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Exercising for stress relief


Two people running on promenade

Mojabeng Dorcas Senekal

STRESS, whether accepted or not, is a part of our lives. When it affects the brain, the rest of the body endures impact too, so we can safely say that if your body feels good, so does your mind hence physicians always advise that physical activity be our number priority in order to be generally healthy.

Research has shown that exercise and other physical activities produce endorphins which are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.

Techniques that can reduce overall tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep and to some extent improve your self-esteem; Meditation- 20 minute relaxation periods per day can help ease anxiety, this should be utilized as a zone- out period; that time when you focus only on your breathing, on calamity and just silence. Sit up straight with both feet on the floor, close your eyes. Focus your attention on reciting out loud or silently (it all depends on which one is more relieving for you at that point)- a positive mantra such as “I feel at peace” or “I am strong”. Place one hand on your tummy to sync the mantra with your breaths, let any distracting thoughts float away, out of your space. Take a 5- minute break and focus on your breathing. Sit up straight, eyes still closed, hand still on your belly. Now slowly inhale through your nose, feeling the breath start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth. This deep breathing counters the effects of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.  Stress jog; I call it a stress jog because it has worked magic for me, this is where you sprint for 10 seconds and run mildly for 10 minutes, as you run mildly you recite that same mantra or a different one, just anything that keeps you calm and focused on relief – “I am powerful”. Saying “I am powerful” everyday when I wake up and before I sleep, and about once or twice during the day has actually made me a powerful person, try this technique for just 10 days and see yourself unleash a power you did not know existed in you.



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