In addition to helping physical health, exercise is can greatly ease the impact of chronic stress. It also stimulates the release of feel-good chemicals such as endorphins … and generates a greater sense of well-being. And, by concentrating your attention on the rhythm and beat of your exercise, exercise brings many of the benefits of meditation.
Testosterone and cortisol are the hormones most closely linked to stress and stress management. Although it’s a simplification, you can think of testosterone as the “confidence” hormone, and consider cortisol the “stress-reaction” hormone.
Stress becomes less harmful when your testosterone levels reach their highest natural level and your cortisol levels stay within their normal levels. Here are 5 simple ways to help balance your hormones and blunt the impact of stress:Power Poses: A study from Harvard showed that standing or sitting in a confident position … so-called Wonder Woman or Superman poses … for two minutes can cut cortisol levels by 25% and raise testosterone levels rise by 20%. Walking outdoors is shown to boost levels of human growth hormone and reduce stress.
Yoga incorporates breathing and stretching: two things that help our muscles relax and lower stress.Dancing – by yourselves or with others – shifts your focus to music and movement, leaving less room for stressful thoughts and obsessions. And studies show that ballroom dancing twice a week can lower the risk of dementia. Breathing deeply and allowing your belly to expand stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is in charge of rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. Try the following: breathe in through your nose for the count of 4, hold your breath for the count of 7, and exhale through your mouth for the count of 8. Practice three of these controlled breaths before each meal and before going to bed. You’ll be amazed at the change in how you feel.