It’s great to own a business. You are the boss and can do whatever you like whenever you want, without having to get someone’s permission.
However, there is a flip side to running a business. If your business runs into rough weather due to dropping sales or the departure of some key employees, your work-life balance gets disrupted. This may lead to stress, anxiety and even depression. In fact, if you are stressed out, you could start to lose faith or interest in your business.
Losing faith is the result of the “flight” response to the stressor.
Have you ever heard about the “Fight or Flight” response before? If not, let us look more closely into this concept.
The fight or flight response explained
The fight or flight response, also known as the acute stress response, is when the body undergoes physiological changes when something disturbs you mentally or physically. Hormones, specifically adrenaline, get released into the body.
Adrenaline prepares you to do one of two things. Since you feel threatened, you will either fight back or escape the difficult situation by taking “flight”. In a business scenario, flight is figurative, of course, associated with losing interest in your business which further accelerates your business problems, resulting in losses and even bankruptcy. The added stress can make you become forgetful. You lose control, which causes social withdrawal. It may also lead to losing your capacity to communicate with your employees.
What can you do to avoid the flight response?
There are many strategies, but one is very simple – exercise!
The effects of exercise on stress
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, at least 14 percent of people use exercise to combat stress. This percentage could be higher if more people were aware of how much regular exercise can reduce stress levels.
Lower stress means a lower probability of triggering the flight response!
Additionally, if you get into an exercise program, after some time, you should enjoy the following benefits:
- Your mood will start to improve.
- Focusing on exercise makes you forget the things stressing you out.
- Your self-esteem will improve when you see that regular exercise makes you look better.
- You will notice an improvement in your cognitive abilities.
How does exercise reduce stress?
When you engage in vigorous exercise, several changes take place within your body, physically and mentally:
1. Enhanced endorphins production
The brain contains “feel-good” transmitters known as endorphins. When you engage in physical activity, the production of endorphins gets boosted, resulting in a feeling of euphoria; and you forget your woes temporarily.
2. Meditation in motion
What’s the main benefit of meditation? It helps you to calm down. When you engage in repetitive activities like swimming or jogging, your mind focuses on what you are doing in the present. The action makes you forget what has been heckling you. Exercise is like meditation in motion, making you focus on better things to alleviate your stress.
3. Better blood circulation
We all know that having proper blood circulation is a good thing. Well, the best news is that you can achieve just that by engaging in regular exercise. Once you start exercising, the heart begins to pump blood through your blood vessels faster and you start to breathe heavily. The combined effect of these two things is that your lungs and brain get more oxygen. Thus, your body becomes healthier.
4. Increased stamina
Once you have been exercising regularly for a while, you will notice that you have better endurance. Increased stamina helps you achieve more physically. An increase in stamina leads to a healthier body. Your immune system also becomes stronger along with the increase in endurance.
How can I use exercise to reduce the stress of running my business?
You may be surprised to know that the answer to this question is in your hands. The first and most important thing is to realize that you need to get into an exercise program to combat your stress. Once you decide that you are going to take that vital step, the next thing is to do it. Here are a few simple steps to achieve this objective:
1. Get assessed
Visit a doctor who will verify that you are fit enough for an exercise program and provide vital information for your trainer.
2. Choose a suitable exercise program
You need to choose an exercise program that you enjoy. That way, it won’t feel like work, and you will be motivated.
3. Start gradually
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Start slowly, so your body increasingly gets used to the exercises.
4. Do bodyweight exercises
There is a whole suite of bodyweight exercises that will give you maximum benefit. You can start with planks, pushups, lunges and squats and then progress to the more complicated stuff.
5. Follow the “progression” approach
By progression, we mean changing the combination of exercises so that your body doesn’t get too used to them. You can try resistance bands for an added challenge to your muscles.
6. Be accountable
By accountability, we mean holding yourself accountable to someone like your trainer or gym buddies. This will motivate you to be consistent.
7. The importance of recovery
This often-neglected aspect of exercising is vital to the whole program. Ensure that you make provision for periods of rest that will enable your body tissues to recover and become stronger in the process.
8. Keep updated with fitness and running books
There are several books you can read that provide a goldmine of information regarding fitness, exercise and running.
We hope that you benefit from reading this informative article. Click here to learn more about how exercise can help you survive the tough times of running a business!
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About the Author
Marek Struszczyk – High performance coach. Certified health mentor and founder of ManagerUp.com. Helping executives to be healthier, more productive and more successful.