When you’re feeling stressed, working up a sweat is one of the best things you can do to sooth yourself. Physical activity — whether you’re going for a run or lifting weights — boosts endorphins and releases chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters which are thought to regulate moods and emotions making you feel better and less stressed.

While more research is still need on if neurotransmitters actually do help your mood, there are other ways that exercise really does have stress-relieving benefits.

Exercise makes you feel better about yourself

Think about the last time you exercised and how you felt when it was all over. Did you feel sad and defeated? Or did you feel amazing, powerful and strong? Feeling your self-worth contributes to stress-relief and helps you better combat those challenging situations that inevitably arise.

Exercise relaxes you

Just one exercise session can generate 90-120 minutes of relaxation response. This phenomenon, known as post-exercise euphoria, simultaneously triggers relaxation and optimism which counters depression and stress. Clinical trials have even successfully used exercise to treat anxiety disorders and clinical depression.

Exercise can lead to healthier eating

People who exercise regularly tend to eat more nutritious foods and good nutrition helps your body better manage stress. A proper diet of healthy foods can help strengthen the immune system, stabilize mood and reduce blood pressure.

Exercise improves quality of sleep

Getting enough sleep is as crucial to your overall health as eating well and exercising. When you get a goods night’s sleep, you are more apt to face the days challenges. Lack of sleep causes us to be less patient and more agitated which can trigger feelings of stress.

Exercise creates optimism

Regular exercise helps us think more clearly and creates feelings of optimism. Optimists enjoy better health, stronger relationships, tend to be more productive and experience less stress. Optimists also tend to blame external circumstances if they fail, giving them a “try again” attitude.

Just keep in mind, working out occasionally won’t move the needle much. Engaging in physical activity at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week is the recommended amount to reduce your stress level, allowing you to feel great.

Question: What are some of your go-to ways that help relieve stress?