Tips to a Happier You in 2012~Stretch Your Way to Happy

When Marlee was just a toddler, she would stretch endlessly. When I would go to get her up in the mornings, she would stall saying, “Hang on, I’m not finished stretching yet.” And she would stretch to one side, then the other, procrastinating because she didn’t want to get out of bed. 

But she always got up in the best of moods! 

Stretching does so much for our mind and body. When I get up in the morning, I try to take lessons from Marlee and stretch for a minute. I’m immediately energized and awake. At night, if I can’t sleep, I stretch my arms and legs as far as I can, hold the stretch, and then relax every muscle in my body. 
There is something that happens when I do this that feels like peace washing over me…which is why I picked the prescription verse above. 

I’d like to think that I’ve had the peace of God many times in my life, but nothing like I felt when He healed me in 2010 of seizures, depression, and addiction. I was in the car listening to a song by Phillips, Craig, and Dean called Mercy Came Running, being totally thankful for the mercy that God showed me when He chose to heal me, and I literally felt peace wash down over me, starting at the top of my head, running down my hair and face, then over my shoulders—kind of like the green slime kids get poured over them on Nickelodeon, only not so gooey! 😉

When we stretch out our muscles, we release endorphins in our brains that give us a peace of sorts…a sense of well-being and calmness. Maybe not as good as God’s peace washing over you, but he did create the hormones in our brain, so in a sense, it is His peace! 

Here are a few other ways stretching is good for you: 

  • Stretching relieves your body of stress, therefore decreasing your cortisol levels and increasing your serotonin levels.
  • Stretching helps put your muscles in a more relaxed state, therefore helping you sleep better.
  • When you stretch, you are focused on your muscles…contracting and relaxing them with a regulated breathing pattern, which also increases serotonin.
  • Stretching increases blood flow in your body, therefore reducing the stress on any particular system in your body (cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous system).

So the tip to a happier you for today is simple—stretch. If you read Monday’s post, and you have your post-it note up to remind you to say your “trust” prayer, just use it to remind you to stretch too. Again, it only takes a few minutes and what do you have to lose? 

From my heart, 


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