Exercise & Peace

If you’re constantly working out in order to relieve stress, you may not be asking yourself the right question: why are you constantly stressed in the first place?

Deep down you probably know the answer, but it’s not always so fun to examine. It may help you to know that you’re not alone. You’ve got to pay your bills, perform at a high level professionally, be there for your family, and maintain friendships, just to name a few.

These modern stressors are unlike those that our bodies and minds were asked to handle just a few short years ago. Add in an urban environment, a few kids, some social media, and a commute, and you’ve got a recipe for chronic disruption of your systems.

I am a huge advocate of strenuous exercise done smartly, correctly, and regularly. I’ve got a gym in my garage and I don’t like ‘missing’ a session. I love how great it feels to work through a set of heavy squats and chase it down with some lunges and sprints.

But neither that, nor seven days of cardio, nor any kind of exercise that you can list are the antidote to internal tensions.

Internal tension can only be unwound by working in one direction: internally.

The modes for that kind of work include, but are not limited to: meditation, Tai Chi, Qigong, painting, stillness, breath work, slowly walking in nature, honest conversation with loved ones, and therapy, to name a few.

Ignoring the yin side of your life will inevitably lead to injury, sickness, or chronic disease. It cannot be avoided, because the body (which is connected to your mind) will not be fooled. It will hold on to all of that stress, until you learn how to let it go.

The good news is that you can keep exercising, and that significant results can be achieved with some internal work in just a few minutes a day.

Even though there are sources of stress all around you, and things generally feel very ‘fast’, it is within your power to slow down what’s happening all around you.

Pay attention to what your body, mind, and heart are telling you. Work on addressing inner tensions. If you can make time to go to the gym, you can also make time for some stillness and peace.

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