Stress is something that we regularly deal with in our lives, and as long as there is a bit of it every now and then – when faced with a deadline on a project at work, when your car breaks down or a loved one becomes ill – we can cope with it pretty efficiently. Clearing your stress is better.
My problem was that at one point in my life the stress just started building up. One bad situation after another kept coming at me and never really giving me a chance to relax. I had plenty of obligations at the university, I had to work to pay the bills and I was in a midst of harsh breakup that was months in the making.
Time For A Change
It’s not that things were beyond hope; I was just mentally exhausted all the time from school and work, I got tired really quickly from even a modest amount of physical work and had gotten a bit out of shape.
One day I was looking at myself in the mirror and decided that it was time for a change. The man looking back at me had bags under his eyes, a flabby stomach and a pale completion – he looked very tired and sad.
Step One – Pumping Iron
The first thing on the agenda was to join a gym. I had done a bit of training at home, back when I was in high-school and a for a while when I was in my first year college, so I knew that very light, drawn out cardio wasn’t going to cut it if I wanted to lose weight and get to blow off some steam.
Heavy weight training and a bit of boxing at the local gym was the order of the day for the next year. Pumping all that heavy iron really helped put all the pent up adrenaline to good use, and my confidence rose up as I became stronger and put on some muscle.
Step Two – Meditation
While researching proper exercise form I came across an interesting piece of information – a lot of the top level bodybuilders, strongmen, and even MMA fighters stressed the importance of being limber and calming your mind, suggesting meditation as a good option.
I was already hitting the gym regularly for about three months when I asked a friend to teach me how to meditate. At the time my mind was still all over the place and a bunch of little worries and doubts would still creep in and stress me out.
Since I’m not really that limber I focused heavily on meditation – I’d sit down in the half-lotus position, close my eyes part way and start counting my breaths. One to ten, then back to one, just sitting there and breathing.
Step Three – Hypnosis
My friend gave me some relaxing meditation music, incense and even some MP3 recordings that were supposed to help me stay motivated through hypnosis.
The tapes were more of an inspiration than anything else really – repeat a few positive phrases to someone hundreds of times and tell them you believe in them and you’ll be surprised how far they will go.
Once I learned to give myself a pat on the back and tell that voice of doubt that it was wrong, I started noticing a major improvement. Being more relaxed helped me sleep better, which lead to some nice muscle gains and a significant improvement in my major lifts – the deadlift, squat and bench.
The stretching worked wonders as well and I quickly got into the habit of doing ten minutes of stretching and ten minutes of slow breathing every time I started feeling a bit stressed.
Step Four – Enjoy!
Obviously, neither work nor my studies could get my head spinning in all directions. I was a new man, but at the same time it felt like nothing changed. I was simply relaxed and happy. And I love it!
I still get stressed out sometimes, but I am much better at coping with it – I have an outlet for the anger and adrenaline with my heavy compound lifts and boxing. I have learned some self-hypnosis techniques that help in those moments of doubt and depression and a bit of meditation at the end of the day helps me put my mind at rest.
Being active and dealing with the nagging voice of doubt in your head are best ways to save yourself from a heart attack, and I can tell you that this strategy has worked wonders for me so far.
Mark attributes success in changing his mindset to the moment he started exercising regularly. He attributes a part of his success because he looked up to some of the best bodybuilders. Today, he looks up to people who live a happy, healthy, growth oriented life.