Congratulations! You’re staying active, eating healthy, and you’re well on your way to pursuing a safe and effective physical fitness routine. But how’s your emotional fitness plan coming along? For the sake of your overall health, it’s important to consider your well-being in terms of both the physical and the emotional. Everyday stresses caused by work and family can be offset by regular physical exercise to some degree, but taking steps to help prevent those stresses in the first place can be an even more effective approach to total fitness.
Yoga and other meditation practices have become very popular decompression activities, and with good reason. The settling effect you experience when carrying out conscious breathing in a calm and peaceful environment, offers one of the best avenues to relaxation. And if you’re new to yoga or meditation, don’t worry. Most instructors will assure you that it’s far less about the flexibility, poses, and focused thoughts, and far more about the breathing and letting go.
Laugh It Up
Laughter as the best medicine may be a cliché, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Research shows that laughter can be a powerful antidote to stress, pain and conflict. It relaxes your muscles, boosts your immune system, and releases endorphins that act as the body’s natural ‘feel-good’ medicine. Can’t decide between the drama and the sitcom this evening? Go with funny, and chalk up a win for your emotional workout plan.
Did you know that taking part in social activities on a regular basis can extend your lifespan? Studies have concluded that social engagement can have as much effect on prolonging your life as physical fitness activities! Jogging with a friend is an ideal example of benefiting from the best of both worlds. But leisure activities like playing games, enjoying sports events, and even shopping with friends and loved ones, all count toward improving your emotional fitness.
Yes, we all know how important it is to enjoy fresh, healthy meals that are high in nutrients, and low in processed ingredients. But moderation is often the best approach to any lifestyle, so don’t be afraid to treat yourself once in a while. In fact, if you do lighten up and honor that occasional self-indulgence, you’ll find yourself far more likely to stay on target with your healthy food choices the rest of the time.
Get Out There
There’s nothing like a breath of fresh air to help clear your head and get you grounded. But with our busy lives we sometimes forget we’re part of the natural world, and how important it is to stay connected with it. Getting outside on a daily basis can get you out of our own headspace, and make it easier to see the big picture of what’s going on in your life. And as an added bonus, the Vitamin D you’ll absorb from any natural sunlight acts as an organic mood elevator. So slather on the sunscreen, and go enjoy that daily walk.
Your emotional self will thank you.