How To Minimise Stress
The only good thing about being stressed out is this classic Tribe Called Quest & Faith Evans song. (I listened to it several times while writing this).
One undeniable fact about life: It’s not always easy. Stress happens, it’s part of our daily lives in one way or another. Some deal with stress better than others and some have more or less than others, but we all feel its effects and can remember situations that were hard to deal with.
Stress also has a negative effect on our health and wellbeing in many ways. The picture below is a helpful visualisation of the areas stress has on your body and mind:
Over time, chronic stress can wear you down and effect everything from your immune system to your mental state of mind (Here’s a good in-depth overview of it’s effects, and the rest of the above infographic)
Stress is not always bad for you: “Researchers have found that people with high-stakes, stressful jobs can benefit from HIIT—and the more intense the workout, the greater the stress-busting benefits.” Working out, especially at a high intensity, is a proven stress reducer. By causing your body physical stress, it helps your system balance and reduce the levels of chronic stress you build up over time.
For me, my life is as busy as it gets. Owning three gyms across two time zones on top of coaching, producing content and building plans for the future is a 7 day/ 60-70 hour week. Add in wanting to be the husband that my beautiful wife deserves (before she finds a cabana boy!) and I have a lot going on, at pretty much any hour of the day (for example this is being written at 9pm on a Sunday night).
However, despite being someone who doesn’t naturally deal with stress well, I can honestly say I’m not very stressed. The main reason for this is due to my workout schedule, and the intensity of those workouts.
When I get to the gym to take a class (every day that I can around coaching), I can shut off the rest of the world for a bit and enjoy focusing my effort solely on my workouts. I actually find that trying to workout on my own doesn’t really work for me anymore (unless it’s a few minutes before or after the class that I’m taking part in) because of being so busy means that it’s too easy to go and reply to an email or take a call etc but I can’t do these things in a class.
Having great people to workout with as well as encouraging Coaches makes a world of difference. I know I can trust them to guide me to the best workout for me that day and not worry about making decisions or dealing with issues. That time is for me and some good old-fashioned hard work. I love it!
It’s amazing what an hour can do for your health and mindset. It genuinely is the best hour of my day and I don’t think that I could do what I do without it.
I look forward to my workouts because I know they recharge my battery and make me a better husband, Coach, business owner and general all-around person. I can tell that my stress levels increase when I go more than a day or two without working out (unless I’m on vacation or taking a few days off intentionally), and I immediately feel the positive effects when I get back on schedule.
I encounter quite a few people who are dealing with stressful situations in life and use the situation, or stress from the situation as a reason not to workout. If you’re feeling more and more stressed in life, dealing with, or have an upcoming stressful time in your life, you are going to make it far worse by not working out.
Your body needs exercise to function optimally. Working out will allow you to handle stressful situations far better, and by a large margin too, than if you decide you’re too stressed to make time to workout.
If you don’t believe me, give it a try. The next time that you are stressed out, workout. Go for a bike ride and add in some higher intensity intervals here and there. Go to the gym, let your Coach guide you through the workout, don’t think, just work hard and enjoy the effort. Afterwards, you will feel better. You will also be able to step back into the situation or circumstances that stressed you out with a clearer mind, make better decisions, and because of this, help minimise stress in the future too.
Don’t make excuses for yourself as to why you can’t exercise if you’re dealing with a difficult time in life. The best thing you can do is move, sweat, and let your body utilize exercise to help you process and manage stress. It’s worth the effort!
Once you prove to yourself how well exercise can help you manage stress, you’ll have an incredible tool in your toolbox to help make you more effective in your relationships, at work, and in everything else you do.