This Is The Best Thing You Can Do To Relieve Stress


Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: What are some of the best things to do to relieve stress? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread.

I always tell people: “A good mood is always a 30 minute run away!”

Exercise is the best way to treat these emotional issues.  Now, clearly there are exceptions.  Clearly there are people who cannot exercise.  Clearly there are people who suffer so greatly from some ailment that this isn’t the case for them.  But for the vast majority of us, the truth is what many (who do not exercise and make excuses) deny: if you exercise just 60 minutes a day, five days a week, the results are so overwhelming that most people don’t get it until they get it.

Whether you want this to be the truth or not, we are creatures that value appearance, so a healthy body mass helps self esteem.  Great exercise helps with cholesterol beyond just weight loss.  Consistent exercise reduces stress and is the best treatment for things like depression.  Exercise helps with sleep issues.  In my case, exercise did FIVE massive things:

  1. Cut 85 lbs from my body and improved my self esteem.  It’s not shallow to want to look good (it’s shallow if you’re a jerk about it).  I got the kind of positive attention from people that helped my self esteem (from being “hit on” to just looking in the mirror and seeing what I liked).
  2. It adjusted my good/bad cholesterol massively.  I come from an obese family and my biological father died at 39 from a heart attack.  I’m 39, and that number looms in my head.
  3. It gave me a hobby I loved.  We all want and need healthy habits.  Mine gave me a hobby that was not only fun, but it connected me with other like-minded people who are now my friends.
  4. It totally “fixed” my insomnia.  I now sleep a normal sleep schedule that I did not have even on Lunesta (a pricey sleep aid).
  5. Lastly, it reduced (and continues to reduce) my anxiety.  I have serious anxiety issues and I’ve been in psychotherapy for it for years.  In the last three years since loosing the weight, my anxiety is consistently under control, both from the above reasons and from the fact that I “burn” surplus energy that otherwise feeds the anxiety.

Along with exercise, you need a healthy diet.  They are important halves of the same coin:  exercise and diet.  Get those in line and you’ll be surprised how much your life improves.  It’s a shame that we live in a world of fads and “quick fixes” that feed our need for lazy solutions.  There are none.  While there are problems that a healthy diet and exercise clearly cannot fix, there is zero doubt that those two greatly contribute towards a very positive, healthy and fulfilling life.

This answer originally appeared at Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and get insider knowledge.