For an athlete, small doses of stress can help stoke motivation, alertness, and focus, improving overall performance. However, too much stress can easily have the opposite effect.
Increased anxiety, poor sleep, depressed immune function, you name it, can all have pretty serious health consequences. They also absolutely wreck your recovery and strength.
Athletes chasing “the dream” often have a lot of stressors to deal with. Making money, training long hours, securing sponsors, making room for recovery, feeding a family, paying the bills, and so much more. While all of this is going on in their lives it is important to learn how to cope or manage the stress so that performance with the barbell does not suffer.
Here are five easy ways to reduces stress and perform better.
1. Get Rid of Clutter
Being in any space where there are more things than we can manage sends a visual message that life is out of control. For most people, disorder leads to procrastination which in turn becomes more disorder and more stress, a vicious cycle.
An easy way to avoid this is to surround yourself with only essential things that you use frequently, enjoy looking at, or that help you be more efficient.
Declutter in 3 easy steps:
- Tackle only one small decluttering project at a time.
- If it’s neither useful nor beautiful, get rid of it.
- If you can’t get rid of it, put it in a box labelled with an expiration date and if it is unopened by then, trash it or donate it.
You’ll thank me when you have wake up to a clean, simple, and clutter free life.
2. Have More Sex
If you ever needed another reason to have sex, here it is! Experiences that provide pleasure have been shown to reduce the stress response. That post coital bliss is there for a reason. Sex boosts immunity, relieves pain, and will help you get a good night’s sleep.
Plus, getting freaky is a great way to help keep that figure that you’ve worked so hard for in the gym.
3. Listen to More Music
Life is busy. Our minds go full speed all day long, bouncing from task to task. It can be very hard to slow it down.
Music has a unique ability to link and give context to our emotions. It can also provide a healthy distraction from life’s daily stressors. A good song choice can slow down your pulse and heart rate, even reduce blood pressure.
Everyone has their own preference, but classical music has been as the most calming for me. Give it a try! Here are 5 easy ways to incorporate more music into your life:
- Play music in your car.
- Put music on when bathing or showering.
- Listen to your iPod when walking the dog.
- Rather than watching TV try listening to some good tunes.
- Cook with music playing
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4. Enjoy nature
When it comes to alleviating stress there is something about being in our natural element that can’t be beat.
When was the last time you genuinely took some time to enjoy the great outdoors? Head outside and search for as much green as you can. Surrounded yourself with life, you’ll notice a very acute drop in your stress levels.
Go outside, smell some fresh air, listen to the world around you and just enjoy being alive. At the very least, this will help you put life’s stresses into proper perspective.
5. Laugh More
Negative thoughts or experiences can have real negative impacts on the body. But a good laugh can put any issue in a different light and completely turn those negative affects around.
Laughing regularly can help reduce anxiety and ease mental stress. It helps you breathe in more oxygen and can in turn make the body function more efficiently. And don’t forget, laughter also helps build relationships, reduces tension, and can make you an overall happier and healthier person that people love to be around. You can’t beat that.
Take some time today and clean up, have sex, head outside, listen to music and laugh. You will be happier and much stronger because of it.