Friday, March 1, 2013

Stress Management and the Adult Athlete

The news is awful, we are all going to be starving since our taxes and the price of gas are going to be so high we won't be able to buy food.  Work is just awful, and there may not be any social security so I'll never be able to retire.  The children are just out of control and my spouse doesn't understand me.

Any of this sound familiar?  We can choose to be carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders or we can eat our elephant one bite at a time.  Part of the deal, when we make the life style change to be an adult athlete, is to put stress in it's place.  It is a medical fact that stress is the cause of a lot of ills.  We certainly can not perform at our best and sometimes not at all if we are stressed out.

It's time for your workout and your just not feeling it.  To much on your mind and you feel so helpless, so out of control of all the things pressing on you.  The first thing you need to do is ask yourself these very important questions:  Is there anything I can do about all the stuff that is concerning me during the next couple of hours?  Will anything be worse if I do this workout?  Do I need some time to think things out anyway and come up with some reasonable plans?

When you increase your heart rate into the training range you are also supercharging your whole body, including sending lots of fresh oxygen to your brain so you can think better.  Unless your concerns are such that something must be dealt with immediately, thinking things out usually results in better solutions than trying to just react.

Once we can start putting things in perspective we can start learning to lower the stress level in our lives.  If work is impossible, why is it impossible?  Is it conflict with a co worker, unrealistic goals, or is it......ect.  Take the time to figure out what it is that is making where you spend half your waking hours uncomfortable.  Start thinking what would make it better.  Do you need to make peace with a co worker, have a sit down with your boss or maybe you need to get some more training to make your job skills better.  Each of us have to answer those questions for our selves.  Thinking of positive solutions to concerns are an outstanding way to keep your mind occupied during a training run or walk.

We adult athletes have the added advantage of having our chosen motion to help us cope with unpleasant situations.  We can take a 'time out' to get our head clear and that helps us see situations without the feeling that it's overwhelming.  Our running shoes and our workout clothes are how we prepare for our happy place.  When we don't feel the love, sometimes getting our gear on is all it takes to get us thinking straight.

Let's all of us take the time this weekend to dwell not on all the lions and tigers and bears, but on how fortunate we are to be healthy and in control of the only things that we are truly in control of, our own thoughts and actions.

Thanks for reading.


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