“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”  Chinese Proverb

It is commonly accepted that regular exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Study after study shows the benefits it can have. Not only does regular exercise help you manage your weight and reduce your risk of developing diseases, it can help prevent and treat mental health problems. It can boost your well-being and mood, and is a great way to unwind from the stresses of life.

How can exercise help?

Certain emotional states, if experienced on a regular basis or for a prolonged period, can have a significant impact on our health and well-being as well as causing specific physical conditions such as muscle fatigue, panic attacks or sleep disorders. Many of these conditions arise due to the chemicals that are released when the emotional states are triggered and exercise can help:

  • To lessen the intensity of the emotions that will reduce the level of chemicals released
  • To help the body disperse or process the chemicals
  • To reduce the physical symptoms associated with the emotional state

Different forms of relaxation

The following exercises are able to target and improve a particular problem:

  • Breathing exercises: To calm the emotional response and release tension
  • Guided relaxation/meditation exercise: To restore calm, release tension and re-focus the mind
  • Mindfulness practices: To calm the intensity of the emotional response in the moment and to establish a habit of pausing before choosing the appropriate response to suit the situation
  • Physical exercise: To release tension and enable body to release the chemicals held in the muscles
  • Massage: To release tension and enable body to release the chemicals held in the muscles

Next steps

Establish which exercises work for you and incorporate them into your daily routine to reap the long term benefits.

There are numerous ways of working with your breathing – these breathing exercises represent only a few options.

This relaxation tool provides two exercises – a guided meditation and an exercise to promote sleep.

Practise mindfulness and improve your ability to manage your emotions in the moment and pause before choosing how to respond.

Physical exercise is great for health and well-being and exercising outside re-connects you with nature helping ground you and change your state of mind.