I did a great deal of yard work yesterday and was 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 a healthy state of being.
Knowing this, it’s unfortunate that kids and adults alike seem to be more sedentary each day. The pandemic isn’t helping with many trapped behind computer screens in never-ending Zoom sessions. More so than normal, I believe we have an overflow of taxing mental activity, but lack the physical outlets needed to release daily stressors and balance things out.
I can’t speak for you, but I have a tendency to obsess – on tasks – on people – on words said. In fact, I did that several times this week. 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.”