I have a saying… if you’re upset or stressed, take it out in a way that will benefit you, not hurt you. Yes, punching a hole in the wall would be a negative way to handle anger! Yes, eating a bag of Doritos and a gallon of ice cream would not be good for your body. And yes, storming into your boss’s office and screaming at her, as tempting as it sounds, would be a harmful choice as well!
So what’s a healthy alternative to unleashing your stress? EXERCISE. When I went back to school to get my MBA during my divorce, in the midst of working 50 hours per week, and learning to be a single mom, I began to run. Seriously! It became my catharsis … “me” time in a world that was swirling and demanding everything from me.
I began by telling myself I was allowed one hour of “me” time per day. That became my exercise time. At first, I could only run one minute, so I then walked 59 minutes. Then I worked up to four minutes of running and 56 minutes walking. Within a few months, I was running the entire hour! With headphones on, listening to music or podcasts of sermons, it was a healing time of sorts. And don’t think it was easy…there were times I couldn’t fit that hour in until 10:00 PM! But I did it because the alternative wasn’t pretty.
And I remember telling my co-workers that it was better to pound my frustrations out on the pavement than to blurt something with my mouth I would regret, or engage in any behaviors that would be detrimental to my body, mind, or spirit.
Are you stressed? Is life getting under your skin? Don’t let it cause even more trouble by by further complicating your life from unhealthy responses to it! Instead, conquer it! Pound it out… or bicycle it out… or dance it out… or swim it out… or yoga it out. And use that time to meditate and pray, reflect and regroup … build your mind and spirit, all while doing something fit for your body, too! It’s a win-win-win.