How to Handle Stress Like a Professional Athlete
In the US, work is the leading cause of stress. Research has shown that about 77% of people experience physical symptoms caused by stress and 48% of people lay awake at night due to stress. With stats like that, now more than ever, we need to find ways to handle the stress in our life. Stress comes with many negative implications that can affect us both mentally and physically. Learning how to handle stress can drastically improve our health and well-being.
Effects of Stress
Small amounts of stress can be useful for fueling our efforts to accomplish a goal, get things done, or prepare our body for activity. However, when stress continues on for too long or is too intense, it becomes a problem. Even though stress starts in the brain, it can manifest physically throughout the body. Stress can lead to things like fatigue, stomachache, sleep problems, depression, and chest pain. When stress goes unchecked, it can lead to more serious conditions, such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
How to Handle Stress
One of the most effective stress relievers is working out. Exercise provides numerous benefits for decreasing stress and restoring a healthy cognitive state. Some of these benefits include:
- Increases endorphins, which are your body’s natural pain killers and mood enhancers
- Decreases stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol
- Has the unique ability to provide your body with energy and a sense of calm
- Improves sleep, which is often disrupted while experiencing stress
- Allows you to redirect your focus and forget about stressors during activity
- Studies show that exercise helps improve cognitive function and your brains ability to perform optimally
By adding in just 30 minutes of moderate activity, you can reap the stress relief benefits of exercise. Crossfit Games athlete Ben Smith uses exercise as a way to reduce stress in his own life. Stress is unavoidable, but as long as you know how to handle stress when it arises you will still be able to live a happy, healthy life.
Want to learn some other ways to handle stress? Brian Mackenzie shares his 3 tips and discusses the importance of downregulating each night.