The Science of Happiness and Why Stretching Is so Awesome

Why You're on the Right Path by Going After Your Flexibility Goals

Why do YOU stretch? What is it about stretching that keeps you coming back to your training again and again? We’d guess that there’s something about it that makes you feel amazingggggg—and we’re with you. You know firsthand how awesome the body feels after an intense stretch. Let’s take a look at the science behind happiness and how it relates to stretching (hint: there IS something special about working on flexibility goals!).

Photo by Melody Jacobs
Photo by Melody Jacobs

These days, the science of happiness confirms that more stuff doesn’t make us happier when compared to meaningful experiences and social connections. People often derive far greater happiness from experiences that help shape their identity and sense of self than by accumulating material possessions.

A new study led by researchers from Cornell University and the University of Chicago also shows that experiential spending inspires more gratitude than spending money on material goods. More gratitude can do wonders for your health and happiness. Just reflect on your own life. When you’re in a grateful state of mind, it’s easier to be kinder to yourself and more generous towards others. Investing in experiences, rather than material goods, is worth it. Get that massage, join that StretchIt Challenge, or treat yourself to that fitness class you’ve had your eye on for awhile. It’s a good investment not only for yourself but also for your relationships because you'll show up to them in a more generous and kind state of mind.

Photo by Ayo Ogunseinde
Photo by Ayo Ogunseinde

"The human spirit is like an elastic band. The more you stretch, the greater your capacity.”

Bidemi Mark-Mordi

While we may not remember the specifics of certain events or occasions, holidays gifts or possessions, the feelings we’ve had in life stick with us. We know if a certain relationship, job, encounter, workout, etc… leave us feeling good or not. It takes practice to become fully aware of how these feelings are affecting us and our perceptions of ourselves. And it also takes practice to take action on these realizations, making positive changes to improve our lives. But once you start it’s easier to build on past success.


Research from Harvard University teaches us that positive emotions have been linked with better health, a longer life, and greater well-being.1  So how do you boost your positive outlook and build up your happiness? The National Institute of Health provides a great overview. Try these tips for an improved outlook on your life:

  • Give yourself credit every day for the good things you do for yourself and others.
  • When you have a slip up, forgive yourself and remember that everyone makes mistakes.
  • Get social and surround yourself with positive, healthy people! Healthy habits rub off on one another.
  • Think about your values and beliefs, and how you can guide your life by the principles that are most meaningful to you.
  • Get active! Healthy eating, physical activity (***stretching!!!**), and regular sleep are essential building blocks for your physical and mental health.2

Seek out and find the experiences in life that resonate with you, that make you feel good, and that contribute positively to what’s around you. The science of happiness is instructive in pursuing a life well-lived. It reinforces our founding principles at StretchIt that movement, community, mindfulness, and positivity are all keys to a meaningful life.

Photo by Elijah Hail
Photo by Elijah Hail

Goals, goals, goals!

Of course, we don’t claim that all material possessions are unimportant. But we ARE supporting a focus on the things that make people TRULY happy and excited to be alive. When we take care of our own personal health and happiness, it resonates out into the world in expansive ways. We want you to use your stretching practice to inspire and improve every other part of your life. Of course, it's easier said than done. Even when we know what we need to do to be better, sometimes it's hard to stick with it. That's why we're here as a stretching community: to support, uplift, and encourage one another. So, that being said—one of the best ways to help yourself stay committed to your physical health and emotional well-being is through goal-setting!

Goal-setting is an important way to stay on track with the things you need to do for your health both mental and physical. StretchIt is intentionally designed to help you work towards goals like front splits, middle splits, back flexibility, and whole body flexibility. That’s because we know the value of working on goals. It’s not about the destination—it’s about the journey. The simple act of working on a goal is meaningful. It’s an experience that, even if it’s tough at times, is ultimately satisfying and memorable. There’s always further you can go with refining your technique, finding more depth in a stretch, strengthening your muscles...the list goes on no matter what level you're at. Taking steps toward your own personal self-improvement, learning, and growth is what matters most. You’ll feel confident that you’re building a life well-lived, one stretch at a time.

So, have fun with your training journey—the non-material rewards are worth it!

"As I get older, I find that cardio is less important to me. What I want to do more of is intense stretching.”

Kim Cattrall
Photo: Natasha Nikolaeva and Marina Skladchikova by Nori Shakoor
Photo: Natasha Nikolaeva and Marina Skladchikova by Nori Shakoor


1https://www.health.harvard.edu/special-health-reports/Positive-Psychology

2Source:(National Institute of Health, 2015)

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