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Good morrow people of internets-ville,

Do you too hate the three S’s aka stress, sadness and sleeplessness?  They suck.  You ever find yourself sad or stressed but can’t point you finger at any one thing that caused it.  How about the nights you go to bed at a decent hour to find yourself rolling around restless and wake up feeling groggy.  Why does this happen?  I have no idea.  I assume it has something to do with chemical imbalances and regulation of dopamine what-evers in the brain.  What I do know is how I’ve been able to significantly reduce stress, sad days and sleepless nights for myself.  How you say? I exercise more.

I always thought of exercise as a way to look better and a way to de-stress (after stress occurred).  If I had a bad day I’d go to the gym and unwind by relocating some iron about the room. It worked.  What I never put together is that when I exercised it created a chain reaction that benefited me days after.  Now exercising helps me prevent stress, sadness and sleeplessness.  This is how I now think of exercise and its chain reaction:

  • During the actual exercising part it sucks because it is hard.  I never really liked it; I suck it up and push through.  Immediately post exercise I feel happier and refreshed.  This is because of the release of the dopamine what-evers (more here).
  • That night I’m pretty tired because of the workout and I pass out easily.  I have a great night’s sleep and I don’t remember waking up once during the night.  I assume this is because my body is like “pass this dude out because we have a lot of muscle repairing to do”.  As a result, I wake up refreshed and well rested.
  • Sleep is crazily important for stress and mood management (harvard people explain here).  Since I got a full dose of sleep the night before I’m off to a great start the next day. I’m naturally in a better mood to take on the problems that come with work.
  • As work problems arise I feel I’m psychologically better able to take them on because, and this may sound silly, I subconsciously weigh the effort needed to solve the problem against my recent hard workout and the problem feels less hard to solve as a result.  When comparing working out until exhaustion to making some calls, doing some research and sending some emails to solve a work problem, it seems a lot easier.  I feel a lot less stress about little problems as a result.

I found that this chain reaction only lasts a day or two after the initial exercise so its important that I continue to exercise every other day.  If you needed an excuse to exercise more you may now have you answer- be happier, less stressed and achieve more in your career.

Eric


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