Here Are 2 Simple Ways to Boost Mood and Eliminate Stress
I have found in my own life that “whys” are far more powerful that “whats”.
Most of us know the “whats” on some fundamental level. Whether it be diet, exercise, or any other thing we know we should be doing.
“It's not knowing what to do, it's doing what you know.” – Tony Robbins
Most of us know on some basic level that stress is bad for us and in some way we all know “what” we should do to help reduce it.
What I want to share with you in this article are 2 very simple things that will have a dramatic impact on reducing our stress.
But even more important I want to share with you are a few short reasons as to “Why” these things are important, “Why” they work, and “Why” they will have a profound impact in your life if you will do them.
I know, I know there are millions of articles and blogs out there telling us all the painfully obvious reasons why exercise is important and why we should do it.
Let me just share with you one less obvious reason why exercise will boost your mood and reduce your stress, and hopefully why this will change the way you look at exercise.
The reason why (among millions of other great reasons) is BDNF.
What's BDNF? It is a little known brain hormone that stands for “Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor”.
Or as some scientists refer to it “Miracle Grow for the Brain”.
This amazing hormone has incredible benefits on our brain. It helps improve mood, memory, and function of the brain by improving connectivity of neurons.
I started with exercise because I believe it to be the critical foundation behind everything else.
I firmly believe that if we can improve our brain we can improve anything.
It is through our brain that we experience the world, interpret input, and ultimately make the various decisions we need to change and improve.
To keep it short and sweet, we should exercise if for no other reason because it will help us develop greater “why” power by improving the source of our “why” power-our brain!
I know that for some, meditation can have many different associations and connotations.
Some people immediately see images of mystical medicine men in India or some other exotic location with people humming at a low volume in unison.
I know meditation might seem a bit foreign or maybe even a bit strange but let me share with you my experience with meditation and how it has literally changed my life.
Meditation, in my opinion anyway, should be viewed as another form of brain/mind exercise and cleansing.
Think of it like a daily brain detox.
Well, science is becoming more and more conclusive that meditation holds many keys to helping us elevate our mood, boost brain power, reduce stress, and even improve our immune function.
Just like exercise, meditation has also been shown to elevate levels of our new friend BDNF!
So how do you meditate?
Well, I don’t claim to be an expert at meditation by any means, but fortunately, I don’t think there is really a wrong way to meditate, unless of course you are meditating and/or dwelling on negativity…
That would be a bit counterproductive don’t you think?!
So, here is how I meditate:
First, I go somewhere quiet...
I then put on headphones with some relaxing sounds on them, such as an ocean or river (you don’t necessarily have to do this, but I find it dramatically helps!) then I focus my meditation on positive thoughts of gratitude starting on a personal level and expand from there.
So I begin with thoughts such as “I am grateful for my health” or “I am grateful for my body”.
It is really up to you, the key is to really allow yourself to get in an immersive state where you can really feel and more importantly believe what you are focused on.
I do this for around 6-7 minutes or so then end by clearing my mind of everything and focusing for the last few minutes on just breathing.
This part of meditating has been shown to help improve function of your prefrontal cortex, which is known as the “executive” center of your brain which helps with self-discipline, willpower and overall forethought.
So there you go, 2 very simple, yet profoundly powerful ways to elevate your mood each day and reduce stress.
Both of these activities have been scientifically proven over and over again to have powerfully positive effects.
I challenge you to begin incorporating these activities into your daily routine and see for yourself just how these things alone can have an incredible impact on your life!
Dr. Javier A. Carlin, PT, DPT, CSCS, FMT
Clinic Director & Physical Therapist
Renewal Rehab Largo