I’ve written about stress before. And you may remember me saying that a little bit of stress is actually good for you. Just the right amount can help get you through a long day or power you through an intense workout. As good as it feels to win at life (with the help of stress), it is way more beneficial, and just feels better to be relaxed.
Constant high levels of stress can have a serious impact on your mental and physical health. So it’s imperative that you get a handle on it. Now. Even before establishing an exercise routine or an eating plan. Why? Chronic stress can cause the body to release too much cortisol (a hormone that manages fat storage and energy use). Excess cortisol can increase your appetite and make you crave sugar and fat.
When we relax our parasympathetic nervous system kicks on. Also known as the rest and digest system. Our heart rate lowers, digestion and oxygen levels are improved, feel-good chemicals and growth hormones are boosted, and our immune system functions better. But it’s not just our body that benefits. Our minds, when relaxed, can more easily solve tough problems, are more creative, and just plain happier.
Let’s chill out. Right now.
Take in a long slow breath through your nose, breathing fully into your belly.
Hold your breath for a few seconds.
Exhale slowly through your mouth, letting every single ounce of breath out.
Be mindful of the tension you are holding in your body. As you exhale I want you to imagine releasing that tightness out with your breath. Let it go.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
For the next week I want you to set aside 5-10 minutes each day to chill out. Unplug, cool down, do something that brings you joy, or do nothing at all, daydream. Let go of what you think you “should” do and just find calm and happiness. Every day.