Is stretching good for mental wellbeing?
Putting aside the overwhelming growth of yoga studios in the western world I am going work from an assumption we all agree stretching must be good for us and certainly can help us all have a sexy shape body wise… But does it really do anything for our mental fitness?
In the schools of psychotherapy and counselling we are becoming more and more open to the links between mind and body, as we move to accept that stretching can reduce the pressures of co-existing conditions between mental health and chronic physical pain.
Science tells us when you stretch, your body releases endorphins which interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain which clinical we know helps us think clearer so that we can better make sense of the situation before us.
Endorphins are also known as happy hormones because they trigger a positive feeling in the body or give you a natural high; which when in a moderate level helps us think with the curiosity and creative brain. This natural high is what helps us get through bad moments with hope and optimism.
So, one of the most effective and easiest ways to integrate natural highs and stress relievers into your daily life is through stretching. Following are a series of really simple stretches that you can adapt into your daily routine, so you get both physical and mental benefit…
I challenge you to give this a go. Find some time in each day, best if you can do it three times a day to stop, relax and stretch!
The rules of stretching:
Move into stretching position slowly;
Move to the point of discomfort, but not pain, breath in and out slowly usually for two or three breaths – up to you how many;
Then exhale slowly as you move out of the stretch;
Remember to breath;
Never bounce in the stretch, hold it steady and strong; and
Don’t overstretch a pose – listen to your body it will tell you far enough!
Remember, the best part about stretching is it doesn’t have to take a lot your time, can be performed in what you are wearing and can be done anywhere!