Ugh! You've got too much to do and too little time. Taking a break now will interrupt your momentum and make you even shorter on time. Right?
Nope! Blame this hurried mindset on the way stress affects your brain. It traps you in self-preservation mode until a threat passes.
The "threat" of a deadline or busy schedule won't harm you. Even so, your brain treats the situation as if it were dangerous. Would you believe that stopping at this point could boost your productivity while lowering your stress level? Well, if you stop to exercise, it will.
A Fact with Wow Factor
By enhancing your mood, exercise leads to increased output and better time management with less perceived stress. [Source]
Stress Less Tip
In case you've been out of the loop on its benefits (or ignoring them), physical movement combats stress by
You don't need to break a sweat for these perks, either. A 30-minute walk at lunchtime, for example, eliminates the dreaded afternoon energy dip and provides stress relief.
Research suggests that certain types of movement embody meditative qualities. Any movement flow that incorporates mindful awareness of the body fits into this genre. Common examples include qi gong, tai chi, somatics, and some forms of yoga. While highly relaxing, these moving meditations require instruction to learn basic techniques.
If you love the idea of movement as meditation but not the formal training, consider rhythmic activities. Your brain finds comfort in repetitive movement. Running, walking, casual dancing, swimming, cycling, and exercises performed in sets settle into a self-soothing rhythm. When paired with music, these workouts feel easier and more enjoyable. Plus, music is an effective stress-fighting tool on its own.
To get you motivated to move, take the playlist of lively music below with you. Most important, pick music that matches the pace of your movement, not the other way around. Otherwise, your movements will feel awkward, and you risk injuring yourself.
Choose a way to move your body that you look forward to because it feels good. No need for full-body exercise. Whether you do chair yoga or a hula hands routine, devote at least five minutes a day to your body.
The growing popularity of micro-workouts makes sense - five minutes of effort seems like nothing. Yet mighty benefits come from that small time commitment. Setting aside a few minutes for your physical health pays you back in hours of renewed energy, focus, attitude, and resilience to stress.
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