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Exercise and Stress
Is Stress Ruining Your Health? Learn
How Exercise Helps Counteract the Effects of Stress
Or How Relieving Stress by Exercise is the Best
Stress Management Exercise
I cannot stress health issues enough when
it comes to bullying. Many are surprised
by how damaging bullying can be to not only mental
and emotional well being but to your physical health.
Stress is the culprit that affects your health in
a myriad of ways.
About 1500 events occur in your body due
to the stress response from the release of
neurotransmitters, metabolization of nutrients to
the realease of hormones including cortisol the so-called
"stress hormone". While this incredibly
powerful and finely tuned reaction is great for dealing
with physical threats it's not so great for dealing
with psycho-social threats such as bullying.
In our modern world most stress arises from situations
that are not physical in nature and a literal fight
or flight response would be inappropriate (even illegal).
The problem is that your body doesn't know this and
continues to prepare you to do battle or run for your
Exercise and Stress: Simulating the Response
This is why exercise is so effective at dealing with
stress. Exercise allows you to simulate the
physical response to the threat that your body has
prepared you for. Your body won't know that
you just ran on a treadmill and there wasn't really
a saber-toothed tiger chasing you.
Exercise and Stress
Exercise is probably
the most effective method of stress management. The main reason for this is that stress is essentially
a physical response. It is the "fight or
flight" mechanism that prepares us to deal
with physical threats in our environment by
triggering a multitude of events in our bodies.
The stress - health connection is undeniable.
Bullying can provoke feelings of intense fear. Fear
of physical assualt, social humiliation, being ostracised,
losing your mind and financial ruin.
This fear gives rise to frustration, a feeling of
helplessness and intense anger. You may have seen
or experienced this transition from fear to anger
and it can sometimes happen in an instant.
Imagine you are driving along a road when suddenly
another driver cuts you off and almost causes an accident.
Your first response is fear. Your car will be damaged,
your insurance rates will skyrocket, you could be
injured or even killed! Moments later anger takes
over and can lead to the extreme reaction of road
Exercise and Stress: Anger Management
However, anger due to bullying is ongoing and can
keep you at a slow boil. Repressing these
feelings of anger has a negative impact on your mental
and physical health. Releasing these aggressive
and hostile feelings with vigorous exercise is good
for your health but it also helps ensure that these
feelings aren't expressed in inappropriate ways, perhaps
while at work.
This is a trap that targets of bullying often
fall into. The anger that has been simmering
eventually squeaks out and you say or do somethng
inappropriate at work.
Even though the bullying has gone on for months or
years with nothing being done, management (and bullies)
will seize the opportunity to turn the tables on you
and make you out to be the real troublemaker. Dealing
with your anger through exercise is by far the better
Exercise and Stress: Release Muscle Tension
Anger and stress also results in muscle tension. You may have noticed your muscles tightening to the
point where you felt your whole body was rigid due
to the stress of bullying. Neck, shoulders, arms and
back are especially stiff and this can lead to more
agitation because of the muscle, joint and headache
pain. It becomes a vicious cycle.
You can break that cycle with exercise to relax your
muscles and increase range of motion. Take occasional
breaks and stretch the affected muscle groups.
Exercise and Stress: Raise Endorphin
Besides being good for you, exercise feels good. Endorphin levels rise in response to exercise. Endorphins are opiate like compounds that have pain
relieving and mood enhancing qualities.
These positve chemical effects of exercise on your
body and state of mind lead some to suggest that exercise
may be of more benefit to those suffering from depression
than anti-depressant medication or therapy.
But it's more than just the endorphines that help
you to feel better when you exercise. Self esteem
usually takes a beating when you are the target of
prolonged abuse from bullying.
Exercise and Stress: Boost Your Self Esteem
Exercise helps to improve your self esteem
in a number of ways. The most obvious is
that you will be in better shape, slimmer and trimmer.
This helps to improve your body image and feel better
about yourself and your social acceptance by others.
By being in better shape you will simply be better
able to cope with higher levels of stress. This also
improves your self esteem because you will feel more
capable and less vulnerable to challenges that you
are faced with. This boost in confidence will also
make you less prone to worrying and anxiety.
Just doing something good for yourself sets you up
to feel more positive. You are treating yourself right
because you deserve to be treated well - in spite
of what bullies say to the contrary. It is essential
to reinforce this sense of self respect and not play
into the idea that you are unworthy. You deserve
to be happy, healthy and fit.
Exercise and Stress: Strengthen
Your Social Network
Exercise is also a great way to have fun
and get together with friends and family. Going swimming or bike riding or playing a team sport
is a great way to connect socially. When overwhelmed
by bullying it is easy to sometimes forget that social
situations can be a good thing. It is also easy to
obsess about the bully and let healthy pastimes slide.
Playing sports or participating in physical recreational
activities like golf or bowling is an important way
of maintaining our social support networks. Give yourself
a break from the bully.
Exercise and Stress: Get That "Winning"
Bullying can make you feel like the cards are stacked
against you. Your self esteem will also benefit
from the sense of accomplishment that exercise
and competitive sports can bring. Whether you beat
your own personal best or win in a team sport it helps
to give you that sense of achievement and success
that bullying can drain you of.
Besides it's good to get out and get some human contact.
Just being around other people and having physical
contact can help to improve your well being and sese
of connectedness. Have some fun, take your mind off
of bullying, and getting some exercise all works together
to help you reduce stress and feel like a human being
Exercise and Stress: Get a Good Nights Rest
After a day of exercise you will also sleep
better. Stress and anxiety can interfere
with a good nights rest. Being fatigued from lack
of sleep will make you more vulnerable to emotional
outbursts at work that, as we mentioned, will be used
against you by bullies.
You are also more likely to make unnecessary mistakes
that could, again, be used as ammunition by the bully
to create further problems for you. Better to get
a good workout and sleep soundly so you are fresh
and ready to meet any challenges with a clear head.
If you are having problems sleeping you can find out more about sleep disorders and sleep aids at SleepAidGuide.com.
Exercise and Stress: Boost Your
Once you've gotten into a routine of exercising regularly
you will also benefit from an improved immune
system and be able to fend off illness. If
you let yourself get mentally and physically run down
you will be more prone to catching every bug that's
If you are already barely able to deal with going
in to work the added insult to your immune system
by stress will likely result in your having to take
sick leave. This can be the beginning of the end of
Managers will not like you missing work and co-workers
who are left to take up the slack often begin to resent
you. This just plays into the bully's hands and while
you are off sick the bully is hard at work bad-mouthing
you to everyone who will listen. Exercise
can help you stay healthy so you can have a better
chance at keeping your job.
Exercise and Stress: Slow But
Steady Wins The Race
Before you jump into an exercise program be sure
to check with your doctor and don't over do it.
You want to find a way of exercising that
is enjoyable. Don't beat yourself up if your
progress is slower than you want or your golf score
is higher than you would like. Try to balance aerobic
and strength training. Getting your heart rate up
doing calming exercises like riding a bike or jogging
is almost meditative and can help to reduce aggression.
Anaerobic exercise, like weight training, can boost
your sense of power but you don't want to get carried
away. Stay focused on the positive and fun aspects
of your exercise program and try not to put undue
pressure on yourself to compete to avoid becoming
frustrated or obsessive.
Sleep Aid Guide
Get the information you need about sleep aids, herbal sleep remedies, relaxation techniques, over the counter and prescription sleep medications and much more. Sleep well again.
For further information about
exercise and stress:
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