Stressed woman
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Sometimes doing something good for yourself, like exercising or sleeping, can actually bring on more stress than you think...or want. But why? Try this three-step strategy to rewire your brain and experience more joy.
You start an exercise plan, and it's all so wonderful. Your skin glows, you lose weight, you feel great. Then something shifts and you are completely ignoring your kid to make time for your weight training—or blowing off important projects to train for a marathon. Exercise is virtuous. But now it seems to have turned against you. What happened?
In a word, stress. Take anything good—lovemaking, exercise, sleep, healthy eating—and douse the brain in stress. It goes to extremes. Most of the stress you feel comes from how you process daily life. The brain is set to either ramp up stress—and with it extremes—or to process your experiences and work its way back to joy. So the solution to extremes of behavior is to rewire the brain so its default—its emotional set point—is balance and joy instead of stress. Try three emotional brain-training strategies to get you started in rewiring your brain.

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