We all get stressed, it’s an unavoidable part of life. There are many ways to deal with stress and some are healthier than others. One of the few ways I like to deal with mental pressure is to go for walks. Rain or shine I’ll walk to the park, or to pick up a hot cup of coffee at my local coffee shop. Here are a few reasons I like to walk when I am stressed.
Getting fresh air refreshes my senses and helps to clear my mind. When I am cooped up in a stuffy library or even just at home, I find my mind hitting roadblocks when I am trying to study or critically think to type up a paper. Eventually, I’ll just end up with a headache and want to give up on the task at hand. Research suggests fresh air will assist in boosting brain function as there are increased quantities of oxygen outside compared to indoors. Since our brain requires 20% of our body’s oxygen to function, fresh air seems better than stale air.
If I am seated for a while, I often find myself feeling a little tired or drowsy. This is possibly due to extended periods of inactivity resulting in poor circulation, especially circulation of fresh oxygen to the brain. I find getting up and doing a few light exercises, or going for a walk to get some fresh air, helps me to wake up. Plus, getting up and going for a walk will help in increasing my circulation, and trigger the release of stress reducing endorphins. Endorphins reduce pain and stress and can create sensations of pleasure or happiness.
Relaxing my mind
Being in a small room doesn’t help with the feeling of stuffiness and congestion. When I go for walks outside, I feel a sense of clarity as I am able to free my mind and release stuff which may be clogging up my mind. Being outside helps me to destress, decongest and relax. I am able to organize my thoughts and tasks I have to do, or just forget about the situation and let my mind wander and appreciate nature.
Relaxing my eyes
Almost everyone now is using a screen in some way or another. We could be working off a computer or phone with a screen. We could be updating ourselves on current events or watching shows from a television or tablet. Over time, extended use of screens can cause stress and strain on our eyes. Going for a walk allows me to look into the distance and view the environment which is not immediately in front of me. I could be looking at a building in the distance or trees a block away. Looking into the distance relaxes our eyes because they are not always working to focus on something in front of us.
These are some of the reasons I go for walks and why I think they are beneficial for relieving stress. If you are stuck, feeling stressed and hitting mental roadblocks, try going for a walk! Even if you don’t feel the effects right away, your body will thank you down the road.