How many of you think that you will find happiness if you reach your body goals? Be honest. You think finally having abs, or reaching your goal weight, or fitting into that so-called ideal jean size will make you happy. How many of you think life will magically be amazing and wonderful after you hit that goal?
In the meantime, you stress about all the things you need to do to reach those goals, deciding you “will not rest” until you achieve them, by golly!
In a previous Tip Me Tuesday, Chasing Goal Ghosts And Fitness Phantoms, I cover how important it is to “stop and smell the roses” along your fitness journey, which helps you celebrate how far you’ve come and the little victories along the way. This can do wonders for your motivation, propelling you even further forward on your fitness journey knowing that what you’re doing is indeed working. And, the actual feeling of happiness can physically help you become fitter and healthier!
STRESS TAKES IT’S TOLL
We’ve all heard of stress hormones, which are typically synonymous with the words adrenal fatigue, metabolic syndrome or damage. These all seem to be hot topics in the health and fitness world because of the abundance of stressors in today’s fast-paced, quick-fix world.
Studies show that chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels increase a person’s risk for depression, mental illness, and lower life expectancy. The stress hormone cortisol in particular is thought to be one of the primary culprits for poor quality health and a less than desirable quality of life. Scientists have known for years that elevated cortisol levels can interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, elevate blood pressure and/or cholesterol and potentially lead to heart disease, to name a few.
I have some good news. On the flip side of these stress hormones linked to causing a host of declining health-related issues, there are also “happiness” hormones that can affect your health and fitness in a positive way. Great news, right? In my head, I am just imagining that happy hormones look like big happy smiley face emojis
Just as negative feelings of stress, anxiety and depression are driven by a cascade of chemicals (hormones) such as adrenaline (norepinephrine and epinephrine) and cortisol, positive feelings of happiness and joy are also a biochemical process involving the release of endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin.
By maintaining a general overall happy, positive attitude throughout the day, you are keeping your cortisol levels low and boosting your own positive outlook, which will not only help prevent you from retaining fat, but also could contribute to better workouts!
Here are steps you can take to create a more positive outlook in your daily life, boost your body’s natural happiness hormones and keeping your stress levels low – which can aid in your overall health and fitness success:
1. Wake Up Early
Think of this as a “warm-up” for your day. Just as you can injure yourself if you don’t warm up properly before diving right into an exercise, you may also contribute to biochemical, metabolic stress if you jump right out of bed and start rushing around to get your day started. This can immediately cause your stress hormones to elevate and flood your body with cortisol first thing in the morning, which can set the tone for the rest of the day. It’s like giving yourself a shot of adrenaline and cortisol in your morning in your cup of coffee, lol! Instead, set your alarm clock about 10 minutes earlier than usual so that you can ease into your morning with a calm mind, allowing your brain juices to slowly start flowing.
2. Think Happy Thoughts
You really do have more control over your thoughts and your mood than you might think. You have heard the saying, I’m sure. But you truly do “Choose to be happy”. You can let a traffic jam get under your skin and carry the anxiety of road rage with you the rest of the day, grumpy face on, shoulders up to your ears and dark cloud over your head. Or you can take three deep breaths, brush it off and go about your day. It’s your choice. Just know that if you choose a negative perspective, you are most likely allowing those harmful stress hormones to stay circulating throughout your body.
3. Enjoy Life!
Just because we are all grown up and have to do this adulting thing most of the time doesn’t mean we have to stop enjoying life. I recently picked up a hobby I enjoyed with a passion when I was younger after being away from it for about 10 years, and it has had such a positive impact! Riding horses again has changed how I look at everything, and I feel in some ways like a little girl again whose heart has fully come back to life (I knew something was missing, lol)! Subsequently, my workouts feel more energized and positive, and every other aspect of my life just feels a little more uplifting. If there is something you remember enjoying as a kid: drawing or painting, dancing, playing soccer or some other sport (there are many adult leagues for various sports), gardening – anything that you truly enjoyed and had a passion for when you were younger – try picking it up again at least once a week or a few times per month. It may add a little extra magic to your day, which will trickle into just about every other area of your life in a positive way -and keep those stress hormones at bay.
Happiness is like the ultimate, natural pre-workout. So the next time you get upset or feel anxious or choose a negative outlook when confronted with situations throughout your day, try to associate it with the fact that you are choosing to allow your body to hold on to or even store more fat via stress hormones. Choosing stress or negativity equals choosing to hold onto fat. Choosing happiness equals letting go of fat (negativity).
Now that’s motivation for having a positive outlook on life! 😉
Tip Me Tuesday: Give It A Rest
Tip Me Tuesday: Health Before Fitness
Tip Me Tuesday: Focus On Action For A Better Outcome
Tip Me Tuesday: Fight The Fear
Tip Me Tuesday: The 4 Cs
Tip Me Tuesday: Are You Really Hungry?
ABOUT NAOMI RABON
One of the trainers on Nicole’s elite NW Fitness Training Team, Naomi is a certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is a NPC Figure competitor who has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 12 years.