Stress is a natural part of daily life. According to the most recent ADAA survey, seven out of ten Americans experience stress or anxiety every day. Most also say that it has a negative impact on their lives at least somewhat. In 2008, the American Psychological Association interviewed more people than in 2007. Nearly half of those surveyed reported experiencing stress-related symptoms in the last year.
Although it’s impossible to avoid stress, you can learn to manage it, which most people do. A recent ADAA survey found that 14 percent of respondents exercise regularly to manage stress. Other respondents reported talking with family or friends (18%), sleeping (17%), watching TV or movies (14%) and eating (14%), and listening (13%)
All of these techniques are effective, but exercise is the most preferred by doctors. Among those who took part in the ADAA survey, a healthy portion of respondents said that they exercise regularly. Walking (29%) and running (20%) are their top choices. Yoga (11%) is their most preferred strategy.
Exercise your body and mind
It has been long known that exercise can improve physical condition and fight disease. Doctors encourage physical activity. Exercise is essential for mental health and can help reduce stress. It has been shown to be very effective in reducing fatigue, increasing alertness, and concentration, and improving overall cognitive function. This is especially useful if stress has reduced your energy and ability to concentrate.
The brain and its many nerve connections feel stress, which can also affect the rest of your body. It stands to reason that your mind will feel better if you feel better. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins–chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers–and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Endorphins can be produced by meditation, acupuncture, and massage therapy. According to conventional wisdom, a moderate workout can make you feel more energetic and healthier.
Regular aerobic exercise can reduce tension levels, increase and stabilize moods, improve sleep quality, and boost self-esteem according to scientists. Aerobic exercise for five minutes can have anti-anxiety benefits.