Exercise and Meditation: The Pursuit to Happiness

An abundance of people forget about the wonderful avenues you can take when dealing with a stressful day or week. One way to begin debunking that issue is to use preventative materials like taking a walk outside to absorb the sun’s rays or having a stress ball on hand for immediate usage to naturally release the happy hormones. After you reach a state of happiness, you will probably wonder how can I receive more and what are the natural ways to obtain it. Well the simply answer is Exercise and Meditation. Both methods are quick avenues to relaxing the body by releasing exercise hormones as well as have ample amounts of proven benefits to relieve you of all stress not only in the workplace but at home or even in traffic.

Cardiovascular Activity

You all are probably wondering how can I obtain those hormones with just physical activity and with what time. Trust me, I’m the type of woman that has more to do than I think but when it comes to your health, you will make time for what is important to you. You can actually start small and increase your work overtime. Cardio activity is a definite way to get started especially if physical activity is new to you or it has been quite some time in between workouts. 10 to 20 minutes is great for a brisk walk, climbing stairs, biking, or work office activities. Eventually you can increase to 30 minutes to an hour of hill walks which will add intensity, running, kickboxing, plyometric exercise or even HIIT workouts. I am a big advocate for HIIT workouts. HIIT is high intensity interval training made to give you the luxury of a short intense workout with the calorie burn hours after you are finished. It includes intervals of high activity for a period of 30 seconds or more than a short burst of rest or lighter activity to recover. This can build your endurance and challenge you with a variety of exercises.

If you would like to learn more about this style of cardio then go ahead and check out my latest notes for starter and rigorous workouts and more information. The featured photo is also a HIIT run with included movements to target the entire body during periods of decline/recovery.

All of these forms of exercise will boost your mood, combat depression, improve your self-esteem, and release any tension through hormones like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. It also triggers endorphins to give lasting energy throughout the day which invites an amazing day especially if you like to start early before your workday begins. Not only will it relieve you from anxiety and stress but benefit you in many ways like providing you with a stronger heart and lungs, decrease high blood pressure, increase bone density and provide your with better sleep, but be careful to not work out too close to your bedtime or you will be up with too much energy to fall right to sleep. You can start with 3 days then increase to as much as 5 if you find that the increase will maximize your results and is your best outlet for you to relieve stress, but 3 days is perfectly fine.

Strength Training

Strength training is another great outlet since you are able to take the stress out on your muscles in the most positive way. Of course with positive being that you are elevating your body image and boosting your brain health. It can also help to lower the risk of injury, prevent osteoporosis, increase your lifespan, control blood pressure, and remove any visceral fat around vital organs. Ultimately it can increase mental resilience by registering emotions then managing the negative ones. It can also help by improving anxiety, depression, stress and boost self-esteem. Strength training can actually release endorphins faster than just cardiovascular activity through performing multi-joint exercises like bench presses that includes the chest, biceps, triceps, and shoulders or leg presses that revolves the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. Overall you are capable of maximizing you health with full body workouts so incorporating movements like leg extensions, leg curls, bicep curls, tricep extensions, and abdominal work would be exceptional to isolate your muscles. You can even make it fun by bringing in battle ropes, kettlebells, body bars, and medicines balls. Strength training can be done with 10 to 12 reps per group at least twice a week for 20 to 30 minutes. That’s nothing compared the amount of comfort you gain mentally. Over time you can increase sets and up to 5 days if you seriously want to maximize results but one set for 2 days is a great starting point that will still provide you with all the benefits.


Now meditation is a number one way to managing stress. It is simple, inexpensive and can actually be done any and everywhere. It does take some practice but once you have a great balance and understanding around it, it can help with relaxation and stress reduction by placing yourself in a deep tranquil mind state. It can enhance your physical and emotional well being as well as increase your patience and tolerance. Most people use meditation to manage anxiety, chronic pain, depression, high blood pressure, sleeping problems, tension and headaches. There are a plethora of benefits like the usage of serotonin, DHEA, the growth hormone, antibodies, and melatonin.

It is truly amazing how something so minor can benefit the human body in a major way. Again, you can practice this form of stress reduction in traffic, at home, and every day at work if need be. There are actually various ways you can go about utilizing meditation.

Everyone knows about Yoga which is a series of postures or poses used to control breathing to promote flexibility and a calm mind. Ultimately it will focus more on the movement than your busy day.

There is mindfulness meditation that is based on being mindful, increasing awareness and acceptance of living in the present moment. The focus is on what you are experiencing such as the flow of breath, your observed thoughts and emotions then letting them pass without judgment.

You can also practice guided meditation that is sometimes called imagery or visualization. It uses places, situations, sounds, textured or smells to find relaxation usually led through a guide or teacher.

You can also engage more during your meditation with Mantra meditation. It prevents distracting thoughts by silently repeating a calming word, thought, or phrase during your relaxation process. Of course there are more avenues like Qi gong (CHEE- Gung), Tai chi (TIE-CHEE), and transcendental meditation.

Practice Makes Perfect

So let’s take a moment to take a breath. You may not fully grasp the concept today but know it takes practice. Take about five minutes to practice the type of meditation you are most interested in to begin a relaxation process. If you wander, don’t worry, just return to the objective and focus on your breathing. Relax. Your breathing should be even and slow paced. Allow your shoulder to sink naturally and breathe through your diaphragm to expand your lungs and not your neck and chest. Perfect posture is best. Nice, tall and straight spines. Focus on your breathing. Keep an open attitude with no judgment. Relax. Breathe.

At this point you should feel more relaxed, comfortable and relieved. It may take some more practice for some people especially if you feel like you were wandering for a good sum of the meditation, keep practicing. A quiet setting is always great to fully grasp the concept and practice more. You can also increase to 10 minutes then over time reach 30 minutes or more. The idea is being aware of your emotions with no judgment.

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