Stressed out? Head to the Gym

photo by erica chan photography

We all run into glitches on a daily basis; things that stress us out. Events that we may have control over or not, but either way they get to us. And they’re inevitable. How we deal with them can make a huge difference in the quality of our day, in finding a resolution to these glitches, and our overall happiness – but even if we’re great at dealing with stress, its important to have a release.

Enter: the weight room

Simply put, the weight room is the ultimate stress relief. Studies have shown that the endorphins released during intense exercise give us a natural high, diminishing depression and stress in the process.

After a day sitting in front of the computer, running around trying to find last-minute Christmas presents, the gym is an escape. It’s more than just a place to build muscle, lose fat, and become a healthier person, it’s a place to become a happier person.

It’s a place where you don’t have to hear the whining of friends or co-workers, or think about things in your own life that aren’t going great, but rather focus on the task at hand: lift a heavy weight as many times as possible. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. There shouldn’t be any distractions, nothing catching your attention, just simple and focused intensity.

It’s a place where hard work isn’t anything mundane like doing reports, cold-calling, or trying to fix a damn membership site. Hard work is literally working hard – physically, and you gotta love that. It’s pure.

Maintaining Focus

1. Keeping it simple can be the key

Don’t over-complicate things by not knowing what you’re doing when you’re heading to the gym. Have a program ready to go. Bring a pen or pencil to write down how many reps and what weight you lift in every exercise. Bring a stop watch if you need to keep track of your rest periods.

2. Don’t get distracted

Wear headphones to ensure that people aren’t going to bother you during a workout. If you don’t like music while you’re training make sure you’re doing something during your rest periods, whether that’s walking to the water fountain or whatever, maintain a look of focus even when you’re not training.

A useless conversation can be the death of a workout. It can increase the time you’re in the gym, thus adding stress if you’re on a schedule rather than diminishing it.

3. One rep at a time

You hear people talking about ‘being in the moment’ all the time. But it isn’t that easy, it’s a skill. Being in the moment isn’t just something that you can switch on or off – at least I can’t. In the gym, this is no different, it’s something that you consciously have to commit to, or else your workout isn’t going to be optimal and neither will your results be as great as they should be.

Focus on one rep at a time, making that single rep the best, fastest, most powerful rep with the best form you can do. Then move onto the next one. Don’t let your mind wander. Don’t focus on the second exercise when you’re on the first.

Treat your workouts like anything in life. Give every part of it your all and you’ll achieve great things.

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What do you do for stress relief?