Today I’m going to share with you how to leave anxiety behind and become more calm and centered. As you know, I’ve interviewed over 600 guests on Mindfulness Mode and it’s not surprising that some patterns are emerging. One of those patterns has to do with anxiety and stress and what you can do to decrease that undesirable feeling that we’re all familiar with. First, remember that stress is an emotion. I know you’re likely saying, well that’s obvious, but I want to remind you that our motions are there for a reason. Emotions exist to tell us that something is going on with our body or something needs to be adjusted. Human emotions are like the warning lights on your car’s dashboard that let you know that something on your car needs attention. Maybe the fuel is low, the oil needs to be topped up, or your coolant is running low. There are warning lights on your dash to let you know of a bunch of different things that might need attention on your car.
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What Are Emotions For?
Emotions serve a similar purpose. Loneliness means that you need more human interaction in your life. Anger could mean you need to pay attention and possibly make a change regarding something that’s happening.
There’s no doubt about it, emotions can be a complex system of letting you know something needs adjusted. For one thing, in our society, a lot of us have learned to push our emotions away, pretend they aren’t real, or sometimes we might not identify our emotions accurately. Maybe we think we’re feeling stress, but it’s actually boredom, or loneliness.
Our body’s have an amazing system of secreting hormones and chemicals in response to various emotions. Most people realize that when we experience fight or flight, our body creates chemicals as a result.
Although we don’t always realize this fact, when we work up a sweat, there are some feel-good chemicals that help us feel better and can even make you feel like you’re experiencing a high. You’ve probably heard of runner’s high. The chemicals we’re talking about are endorphins.
In order to experience this feeling, you have to make movement a way of life. You have to create a habit that includes some kind of activity. Brisk walking or running can do this for you, but of course there are lots of other choices too.
The 2020 Olympics are on right now, and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to talk about physical activity and sport. This year's Tokyo games are officially called the Games of the XXXII Olympiad Tokyo 2020.
Take some time to tune in to some events and allow yourself to enjoy and be inspired by the athletes. I usually find that once I tune in, I get so interested that I want to watch even more. Like I said, allow yourself to be inspired. After all, all these athletes started somewhere, and you can be sure there were times when they needed some inspiration and encouragement from others. We can all encourage each other, no matter what challenges we’re up against at any given time.
Beat Your Stress
Let’s talk about running. Running helps to improve your mood because it makes you feel better about yourself and gives you a sense of accomplishment. It also can be addicting, as once you get in a routine and start feeling the positive effects, you’ll likely want to stick with it. Running is also inexpensive and convenient. You don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment.
Running is a great exercise and a perfect way to beat stress and anxiety, and also get connected to nature. That’s true of course, as long as you have somewhere to run when you can enjoy the trees, the birds, or whatever aspect of nature you enjoy.
The reason running helps beat stress, is because the body releases endorphins which are often called “feel-good” chemicals. They can act as a pain reliever and happiness booster. Endorphins are primarily made in the part of the brain called the hypothalamus and also in the pituitary glands, though they may come from other parts of the body as well. These are some of the reasons that running is a great choice.
A Routine To Diminish Stress
You might have heard me say on the show before that I never did any running and never really wanted to in my life. Then, back in 2018, I started walking 45 minutes every day. Later I upped it to an hour. Then in December 2020, I decided to try running. I didn’t push myself too hard, I just ran if I felt like it. I noticed that it felt good and that I could work up a better sweat once I started running. So that got me into the habit of running for an hour every day.
The distance I run is about 6.6 kilometers which is 4 miles. I usually run down the country road where we live and then turn around and come back. Of course, there are options, so I can go in either direction from my house, and I can run further than the 6.6 kilometers if I want to. I’ve noticed that it really feels good to do this as part of my regular routine.
Inspired By Dick
Cycling is also popular, and is a terrific choice as a way to stay fit and experience the boost created by our body’s chemicals. Cycling can help you build up your muscles and stay in shape. It's also fun, because you can ride with friends, a cycling club, or even go solo. This sport has been around for years, but it's just as popular today as it was in the past.
I’m inspired by my uncle Dick, because a few years ago, when he retired, he took up cycling. He lost weight and became incredibly passionate about cycling. He also cycles in a velodrome. A velodrome is an arena for track cycling. It features steeply banked oval tracks, consisting of two 180-degree circular bends connected by two straight sections of track. The straights, as they’re called, transition to the circular turn through a moderate easement curve.
A Great American Swimmer
Swimming is another terrific fitness activity that will help you stay fit, costs very little, and allows you to have fun in the water. If you have aches and pains, or are recovering from an injury, being in the water is a good way to exercise without worrying about harming your joints or muscles. Swimming will help you strengthen your body without stressing sore joints and muscles too much.
If you have a competitive spirit, swimming can be great too, because you can swim laps and challenge yourself, or swim with others and build on your successes.
I’ve always loved watching swimmers in the Olympics and I am always inspired by Michael Phelps. I’ve read some of his quotes like, “You can't put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.”
What About You?
Some of my guests have talked about how he inspired them to achieve greatness. I haven’t read his book, but it’s on my list of books to read. Check it out, it’s called, No Limits: The Will to Succeed. He published his book in 2009 and I know it’s been recommended as a book to read by some of my guests. He also published another book in 2016 called, Beneath the Surface: My Story. I’m sure those books would be inspiring and well worth reading.
What’s your favorite activity or sport that helps reduce stress in your life? Is there an athlete that inspired you to take up a sport that is now part of your life? I’d love to hear from you.
What are you enjoying most about the Tokyo Olympics? Is there an athlete that you’re fired up about and feel like the world should know more about their sport or what they’re up to?
Send me an email, Bruce@mm.com and let me know your thoughts.
- Book: Practicing Mindfulness: 75 Essential Meditations to Reduce Stress, Improve Mental Health, and Find Peace in the Everyday by Matthew Sockolov
- Book: No Limits: The Will To Succeed by Michael Phelps
- Book: Beneath The Surface: My Story by Michael Phelps
- App: Insight Timer
- 362 Discover Mindfulness In Ultramarathon Running; Deepak Shukla
- 162 Running To Focus On The Inside With Diz Runs Host Denny Krahe
- 047 Hilde Larsen: Gratitude Will Put You In A Sense Of Awareness Every Second
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|Have you been trying to break through a mind block and reduce stress? Are you discouraged and feeling anxiety? I coach people just like you. Do you just want to feel content and happy? I’m Bruce Langford, a practicing hypnotist, and I love to help people just like you! Feel good about your life and accomplishments. Regain confidence. Book a Free Consultation to get you on the road to contentment. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Lessen Your Stress' in the subject line.|