Get Physical

Apr 28, 2024

I’ve done a great deal of yard work over the past few weeks and have been reminded of an important behavior strategy. It’s one I don’t talk about nearly enough, given its effectiveness. Of course, with most people’s busy schedule it’s also hard to come by. The strategy to which I am referring is physical activity.

When we engage in physical activity oxygen is sent to the brain, blood flow increases, and feel-good chemicals like serotonin and dopamine are released throughout the body. All of this occurs in an attempt to stabilize the system and get back to a place of homeostasis, or healthy state of being.

Knowing this, it’s unfortunate that kids and adults alike seem to be more sedentary each day. (The pandemic didn’t help – with many trapped behind screens for extended periods.) At lease compared to the world in which I grew up, I feel we have an overflow of taxing mental activity, but lack the physical outlets needed to release ongoing stressors and balance things out.

I can’t speak for you, but I tend to obsess – on tasks – on people – on words said. One reason I believe this happens is because I don’t give my body enough chances to reset my system. Ah, but yesterday while working in the yard, I realized I wasn’t fixating or overthinking. I was tired, but not stressed out. I felt better than I had all week. Who’da thunk?

When kids get upset and shut down, I find ways to get them up and moving. And you know what? Nine out of ten times the activity helps. Guess I need to remember to practice what I preach. The reference might be lost on many, but as stress levels rise, I encourage you to heed Olivia Newton-John’s recommendation in the early eighties, and in whatever way works for you, “get physical.”

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