5 Mental Benefits Of Stretching At Work
Do you ever feel tired or burnt out at work? Do you sometimes feel irritated by constant discomfort or pain? Is it affecting your ability to give out your best performance at work? Your focus and concentration can be impaired when you are irritable due to physical pain, which can make you more reactive in social and professional settings.
Most of you are unaware that stretching can help ease the negative effects of pain by harnessing the power of mental stretching.
While stretching improves your physical health, little is known about how it benefits your mental health. Although it is a vital part of any exercise, it can be done with or without strenuous activity to improve your mental health.
This article will help you know more about the benefits of stretching for your mental health and how to do it.
Does Stretching Relax Your Mind?
When it comes to stretching, most of you only think of its physical benefits, but only a few are aware of its mental benefits. As you already know that your body and mind are connected. And to leverage their full potential, you must first understand the connection between both.
Stretching is good for your mental health as when you stretch, your body releases feel-good hormones known as endorphins. Stretching also stimulates receptors in the nervous system, which slows down the production of stress hormones in the brain. It helps to regulate and increase blood circulation, improves blood flow, relieves tension from your muscles and mind, and helps to reduce stress.
Here are some of the mental benefits of incorporating stretching into your daily routine
Increases serotonin level
Stabilizes your mood
Helps with pain management
Boosts your energy levels
Promotes inner peace and positivity
Workplace stress, fatigue, and anxiety can cause irritability and make you think slowly, react more severely, and affect your overall mental health. Also, when you're stressed, your muscles can get tensed and give you headaches or migraine. But stretching can help you loosen those muscles, further alleviating the stiffness you feel when you're stressed or tense.
Types Of Stretching
When it comes to stretching at work or home, it doesn't have to be rigorous. You can do it with or without the involvement of any other activities. When you stretch after waking up or from being seated for a long period, you feel exhilarated and relieved. That's the main purpose of stretching to achieve better mental health.
A sedentary lifestyle harms not only your physical posture and health but also your mental health. You are bound to get tired and exhausted from sitting in the same posture for eight long hours daily.
Even though stretching might seem easy without prior experience, you should understand the basics before getting started. If you do stretching incorrectly, it can cause more harm than good.
There are mainly three types of stretching routines that can benefit both your physical and mental health -
It is one of the best stretching routines to relax your sore muscles or alleviate muscle stiffness. In this technique, you have to hold your targeted muscle for a minimum of 30-40 secs. It helps in flexibility and loosens up your muscles. You can do it in both active and passive modes.
You can easily injure yourself by bouncing while performing static stretches. Do body weight exercises like lunges and squats to warm up dynamically instead.
The dynamic stretching routine involves workout sessions or yoga, which includes more body movement and allows your muscles to warm up.
It is a more advanced form of stretching that includes stretching and contraction of the target muscle groups. It helps to improve your posture along with flexibility and mobility.
Suggested Read : 15 Easy Office Stretches For Better Employee Health
How Can Stretching Benefit Your Mental Health?
Not only does stretching improve physical health, but it also boosts your mental health. Since almost everyone faces stress and anxiety-related issues at work or in their personal lives, it is vital to try every little thing towards improving their mental health.
As a result of stress, muscles can become stiff, causing discomfort and pain. Physical discomfort also affects your mood, causing you to become irritable and cranky.
In this way, stretching can ease the tension in your muscles and reduce the feeling of stress.
Endorphins, a feel-good hormone, are released during stretching. Positive feelings and stress are reduced when it triggers brain receptors.
How To Start With Your Stretching Routine?
When it comes to stretching for your mental health, maintaining your routine is everything, and consistency is the key to achieving inner peace and positivity. Although stretching can be overwhelming for beginners, there are a few simple steps you can take to start your routine smoothly.
Warming up is the most important step when it comes to stretching or starting any exercise. If you skip the warm-up session, stretching will end up doing you more harm than good. A simple run or walking on the treadmill, or even jumping jacks can help before your stretching routine can help you avoid unwanted injuries.
2. Scheduling A Specific Time
Consistency is the key to everything. If you can't find motivation, try to maintain your consistency. Try to schedule your routine around the same time every day. Set the alarm or a reminder to help you with it. You can also try to make it more specific like it could be after your lunch or before. It will help you maintain the flow and later, without you even realizing it. It will become a habit or even a better part of your lifestyle.
Suggested Read : Fitness Motivation: A Necessity for Healthy Living
3. Be Slow And More Focused
Take it slow and easy if you're a beginner or starting your stretching journey after a long break. Stretching requires patience, so it may take days, weeks, or even months to see results. To stretch for better mental health, your routine should not be too hectic or stressful. Do not pressurize or overwhelm yourself.
Suggested Read : 13 Methods To Increase Energy and Motivation At Work
5 Ways Stretching Can Benefit Your Mental Health
Only a few people know the mental health benefits of exercise and stretching. Stretching daily can improve your mental health, increasing blood circulation and boosting mood.
The following are five benefits of stretching for your mental health:
1. Increases Inner Balance
There is no doubt that inner peace is one of the most powerful yet least popular benefits of stretching. Stretching releases endorphins, which are feel-good hormones that help us cope with depression and lift our moods. You can calm your mind by combining slow stretching movements with controlled breathing and meditation techniques.
Endorphins have greater pain-relieving effects than morphine and cause a feeling of euphoria when they bind with receptors in your brain.
It also helps to reduce the secretion of stress hormones in your brain and lower your anxiety levels accordingly. Stretching helps to regulate and deliver hormones throughout your body, improving your metabolism and state of mind. Thus, stretching can act as a great way to have a new outlook.
2. Relaxes The Mind And Body
"Every time you release a deep breath, imagine you're letting go of a stressor in your life and then sink a tiny bit lower into the stretch, suggests Blackmon."
The act of stretching allows your mind and body to relax. By doing so, you'll be better equipped to handle stress and anxiety.
The act of stretching also helps to connect the mind and body. Whether you stretch or practice breathing exercises, you become more aware of your movements. Your ability to focus and concentrate is improved. And a calm mind provides opportunities to be creative and optimistic.
3. Increases Blood Flow And Circulation In Your Mind And Body
Making a routine or stretching daily can increase blood flow and circulation in your brain and body.An improved blood flow contributes to a more positive mood and a clearer mind.
As a result of stretching, you'll also be able to think more clearly and make better decisions.
Engaging yourself in stretching makes you more present-focused than ever. As you become more aware of your breathing and surroundings, you can let go of all the negativity and focus more on your future.
Stretching is also considered the truest act of self-care, as the movements provide a sense of release and connection to your body and help you remember that you took the time to do something therapeutic for yourself.
4. Boosts Your Energy Levels
"By lengthening the tight muscles we can realign our body to function as efficiently as possible, allowing us to go about our daily life feeling more energized." - Renee Scott.
Stretching helps to release happy hormones in your body and reduces the secretion of stress hormones. It further helps to regulate your metabolism and boost your energy levels, making you feel more energetic. Practicing simple stretches can help to circulate and improve your blood flow in the body. Thus, incorporating stretching into your daily routine can help you achieve high energy, a clear mind, and a positive outlook.
5. Improves Your Sleep Cycle
Poor sleep hygiene is one of the most common causes of poor mental health. Due to a sedentary lifestyle or poor work-life balance and stress, it has become almost impossible to get 8-hours of sleep. And a lack of sleep can cause irritability and anxiety, leading to unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Stretching, however, is one of the easiest forms of exercise that can help you improve your sleep cycle. The act of stretching right before bed can be relaxing for your mind. Thus, preparing for a calm sleeping experience without any distractions.
Suggested Read : How Sleep Deprivation Affects Work Performance
5 Easy Stretches You Can Try At Work
A sedentary lifestyle can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Lack of physical activity or a fitness routine can make you both lazy and exhausted mentally. Sitting in front of your laptops or screens for a long period with little to no physical activity can increase your anxiety and stress levels at work.
So here are five easy stretching exercises you can try at work that require only your mind and body.
1. Forward Fold
Try to stand tall apart and soften your knees.
Now slowly bend forward and hang your upper body loosely.
Sway your body side to side and release the tension into your lower back.
Now try to roll your body upward.
Suggested Read : 42 Easy Office Exercises You Can Do At Your Desk To Stay Fit
2. Shoulder Stretch
Raise your arms above your head with your palms facing up.
Now look straight ahead by keeping your arms in line with your ears.
Relax your shoulder blades and hold your breath for five seconds.
Roll your shoulder back and forth, and repeat the stretch by holding your breath for 5 secs.
3. Foot Stretch
Stand with your feet slightly apart and spread your toes.
Now shift your weight to the balls of your feet.
Stretch your tendons and muscles by holding your breath for 5 seconds.
Suggested Read : 5 Workplace Yoga Poses For Tiredness
4. Forward Stretch
Clasp your hand in front of you while lowering your head.
Now press your head forward.
Try to hold your breath for five seconds.
5. Hip and Knee Stretch
Try to hug one knee at a time towards your chest.
Try to hold your breath for five seconds.
Repeat this posture by doing one leg at a time.
Summing It Up
Thus, the benefits of stretching extend beyond physical health and include your emotional well-being. Stretching can help reduce pressure on your mental health and prevent physical ailments by understanding the connection between mind and body.
It is one of the easiest and simplest ways to reduce stress. One of the best things about stretching is that it takes very little time and can be done anywhere.
With the help of this article, I hope you gained a better understanding of the mental benefits of stretching for better mental health.
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