Without getting all scientific on you, there are many reasons that physical activity is great when you are feeling stressed. First when you are stressed out your body produces cortisol and that can make you feel even more nervous and anxious, even to the point of feeling sick. Getting active will use up some of that cortisol and that will help to reduce the nervous feelings.
Just as important the physical activity also produces a chemical – endorphins – that help you feel good! They improve your mood and help you slow down, as well as when you are tired you can sleep better. All of us know of the physical health benefits of exercise, but the mental health benefits are great too.
What is your favorite thing to do? Is it walking, dancing, martial arts, skateboarding, basketball, frisbee??? Any activity can be good and if you make it a habit to get some activity that you enjoy in everyday you will find your stress levels being reduced. But when we sit around or are dormant, or only worry about what we ‘have to do’, then our stress levels will go up.
One warning; Do not let physical activity become a distraction to the point of being an escapism method. Physical activity and especially sports and teams can become overwhelming if we are over achievers and only add more stress to our lives, if we are trying to fit too much in to our schedules. Finding the balance of some physical activity everyday while continuing to work on the root causes of our stress is the best.