During stressful times it’s easy for your mind to race from thought to thought, that can lead you down a rabbit hole of distress. This can have a negative impact on your body, mind, and emotional health.
In reality, you get what you think about. Your thoughts have the power to calm you down, or stress you out. This has immediate physical consequences for your body. An anxiety-producing thought can increase your heart rate by 5 beats per minute. Conversely, calming thoughts can slow your heart rate down by 5 beats.
Think about biting into an icy cold cluster of plump pomegranate seeds, or sinking your teeth into a tart cherry. Did you feel the sensation of your mouth water? That’s how powerfully connected our thoughts are to our bodies. If a simple thought can do that, think about how negative “what if” thoughts have an effect on your body.
Use the following exercises when you find yourself feeling tense, anxious, and stressed. These exercises can be especially useful at the outset of a workout, or when you’re trying to shake off the effects of your busy day.
During a walk, jog or other rhythmic exercise, get into the flow of “low and slow” breathing. During the exhalation phase of your breath, repeat four to six powerful and positive words: “I am fit, healthy and vibrant,” or any other words that have a positive, calming effect.
• Clench your fists, arms chest, abs, glutes and legs.
• Hold for a count of ten.
• Slowly release, and let your whole body go completely limp. Repeat three or more times.
Fist Clench with Diaphragmatic Breath
• Clench your fists tightly as you take a deep diaphragmatic breath, and hold it for a count of ten.
• Exhale thoroughly and completely, as you let your body go limp.