How to turn stress into a podium finish
Every guy faces stress. It builds up at work when the copier is on the fritz, at home when the toilet overflows, and between work and home when the driver in front of you takes up all three lanes and most of the shoulder. Just pick a lane already!
That’s where a chapter of my new book, The Responsibility Ethic, comes in. It shows you how to turn stress into a positive force for healthier living and a more fulfilling life. If you’re wondering how to create healthy stress, here’s the deal:
Stronger and smarter through stress
I love the metaphor of muscle-building because I’m a recovering bench-press addict. Muscles only grow after they are stressed, and muscle soreness after exercise is a signal that your body is adapting and getting stronger! When we stress our mind and spirit in the same way, we feel exhaustion and emotional pain before we experience growth. You are getting smarter and more resilient!
The takeaway here: treating stress as something that makes you stronger will help you confront and overcome it. Boom!
Exercise gives you an ‘out’
Exercise of any kind helps expand stress tolerance. When any kind of stress builds up, pausing to walk your dog, rake leaves, or do any kind of everyday physical activity allows you to stop analyzing your problems and surrender control by getting out of your own head and into your body. At the same time, when you relax and move, your body releases chemicals that stimulate your brain. The result: you are able to handle daily stress with renewed energy and vigour.
Deep breathing delivers
We take more than 20,000 breaths per day, yet use only 10 to 20 percent of our lung capacity. A deep belly breath — or 10 — will engage your rest-and-digest hormonal response and help you manage stressful energy. Lie on your back on a flat surface, place one hand on your stomach just above your belly button, and place the other hand on your chest. Breathe slowly in through your nose then hold your breath for a second before breathing slowly out through your nose.
What’s your best stress-busting tip? Help your Internet buddies out in the comments below!