Help Your Body Be Happier

photo by Pink Sherbet

photo by Pink Sherbet

 

My head spins with stress from the day. I slip on my shoes, open the door, and begin to walk down the street. Eventually I jog. I can only imagine how ridiculous I look. I’ve never been graceful and nothing about what I’m doing feels athletic. rythmic, or even pleasant. But as I finally head back home I can feel the tension slipping from my shoulders and peace settling into my soul again.

We are physical beings.

I would like to believe that isn’t true. So many times I want to separate emotions and spiritual struggles from my body. But in this life, they’re joined together. And if we ignore that, we are putting our happiness and holiness at serious risk.

I work out almost every day. It’s not so I can look a certain way. It’s because I struggle with depression and anxiety so I need the endorphins {the feel-good chemicals our bodies make when we exercise}. Endorphins have been shown to be as effective as anti-depressants.

Exercise also helps with anxiety and our everyday stress responses. Here’s my paraphrase of why: When something stressful happens, our amygdala kicks in {the part of our brains that controls the flight/fight response}. The amygdala releases certain chemicals and puts our body on high alert. For us to calm down, we need to switch back to our brains being run by the neocortex {the part of our brains that does higher thinking}. Exercise helps us switch because it replaces the stress chemicals with endorphins. It also trains our brains to be more resistant to stress.

Because your body physically reacts to stress it usually takes a physical act to help it get back into a calmer state.

How much exercise is enough? Even a five minute walk can help with stress and anxiety. Most experts recommend at least thirty minutes three times a week. You can creatively fit more exercise into your day even if you have a busy schedule. I have a balance disc I keep under my desk and one on my couch. I push on it with my feet when I’m working or watching TV. I also have a resistance band to use for my arms and take with me when I travel. And I love to lift weights. Just start with whatever works for you, like The Do What You Can Plan.

People think if they take time to exercise then it’s selfish. But the opposite is true. Neglecting your body is one of the most selfish things you can do because it limits your capacity to serve others and fulfill your purpose. Your body is your responsibility and it’s just as important as your heart, mind, and soul. 

In addition to exercise, you can also help your body by…

– Taking a warm bath

– Covering up with blankets

– Letting someone you love hold you

The goal is to do something that impacts your whole body.

You are human. And that’s a beautiful thing. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” {Ps. 139:14}. Your body is a gift and God has created it with powerful capacities to increase your happiness. You can do everything “spiritually” right but if you neglect your body you’re not going to be able to feel joy. That’s just the way we’re wired.

You and your body are going to spend a lifetime together.

You might as well be friends. 🙂

XOXO

Holley Gerth

 

31 Days to a Happier You

“Because happiness can be an act of worship” 

About Holley

About Holley

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

I like humans, words, and good coffee. And I’d love to help you beat what’s holding you back, become all you’re created to be, and kick butt for the greater good.

Cheering you on,

Holley

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