Boost Your Mood With Stretching
Confession: I am a little bit of a high-stress person. I spend a lot of my mental energy worrying, thinking about all the things that could go wrong instead of looking on the bright side. In the world of psychology, we call this phenomenon “catastrophizing”. It’s no wonder that working out can sometimes feel like an added stress because I am already so drained by the chatter going on inside my own mind.
Does this sound familiar to you? If it does, I invite you to take a deep breath. Yes, take a deep breath as you’re reading these words right now. Reach both arms up in the sky, rotate your wrists, and return your arms back to a resting position. Turn your head gently to one side, back to the other, and then return to center. How do you feel now?
That gentle motion works as both a physical and mental distraction. If I tell myself that I’m going to stretch for 10 minutes, I actually look forward to it because I know energy is going to be released rather than expended. It takes a little bit of convincing to get me in the mood to exercise, whereas stretching is that ‘me-time’ that brings me a little bit of peace.
If you’re a beginner looking for a stretch you can try right now, try a basic chest opener. Clasp your hands behind your back and pull down. Hold this for 10-15 seconds as you feel your chest and shoulders start to open up. This can be such a relief for those of us who sit at a desk all day, whether it’s at work or at school.
My favourite way to stretch is by following along to Cassey Ho’s stretching videos posted on her Youtube channel Blogilates. Most of the videos are around 10 minutes long, and Cassey provides you with the most uplifting commentary as she guides you through the movements. I’ll post the link to two of my favorite videos below. Give them a try; at the very minimum you will feel a sense of calm—both in your body and in your mind.
Stay healthy, stay happy,
5 Stretches to Get You Feeling Flexible and Thinking Positively
Total Body Stretch