How To Reduce Stress: A 10 Part series on reducing stress – Part 1 Do Something Physical

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.

Discipline is about following rules

All of us have rules to follow.  Some of them are created by others like our parents, teachers, bosses, legislators and these could be refered to as external rules.  We follow these rules because for the most part they make things safe, fair or are just good manners in the society that we grow up in. 

A second kind of rule though is rules that we make ourselves follow.  These might be called internal or “self rules”.  There is no one there that makes us do them –  we choose to do so because, it is the right thing to do. 

For instance, there is no rule that says that you cannot be lazy.  However we have have that rule inside of us.  It may say to us that we should work hard at school, work, personal development, physical activity etc…  

That is discipline, to be able to follow the rules that we create for ourselves or follow the rules set by others and do so even when no one is looking.  Having this type of discipline shows that we have respect for ourselves and for others.  In fact the great thing about this is that this type of discipline and respect for ourselves will give us the opportunity to succeed. 

So here is an assignment to think about.  List some of the rules that are important to you to follow.  They may be self imposed or those from external sources.  Then rate yourself on a scale of 1 – 10 on your tendency to show discipline by following those rules – even when no one is looking. 

Getting back into routine

It has been very hard for me to get back into my routine. I have moments when everything feels like it is getting there and then there is a breakdown and I feel completely disconnected again. Does Hawaii do that to you or is it something else? When we come back from summer vacation it can be a releif that there is more routine in our lives. Use this time to re-establish your personal routine to a better you.



 To get back into routine there are some simple steps to take:

  1. Be sure to eat the right foods and get back on your schedule of eating. (5-6 meals a day)
  2. Force yourself to go to bed at the same time and get up at that same time.(even on weekends)
  3. Begin your physical regimen as soon as possible. (begin with physical activity with a partner / teammate)
  4. Add your personal physical activity day by day. (include a stretching routine)
  5. Start a reading routine again. (be sure to get at least 30 minutes to one hour of reading in everyday)
  6. Stay in touch with your mentors or teammates on a daily basis. (this adds accountability)
  7. Journal your results everyday. (this is for you to see where you can adjust and make improvements)
  8. Limit & schedule time spent on email, internet activities and television.
  9. Schedule time for doing charity work in your community
  10. Be sure to celebrate your successes by allowing yourself to do something special for yourself.

Daily working on yourself is a part of living your best life, setting a great example for those watching (read our kids), keeping up both our mental and physical health. If you are feeling tired or worn out all the time – something is missing in your life. It may be a good routine of great healthy, ‘Living Like a Champion’ activities. Join with me in the activity of routine and watch what I am doing to live the best life I can.