Stress is a normal part of life. We are always going to have stressors it’s how we respond to them that matters. There are many helpful tips to get you out of stress mode. Stuff happens; relationship problems, job insecurity, social injustice, kids not behaving, politics, illness, pipe leaks, crazy puppies, and pandemics just to name a few. If we process these stressors and don’t let the stress continue to spiral and grow we can avoid the negative effects that stress causes, like inflammation. The chronic stress is what we want to avoid. So here are some tips/tools to help get you out of your head when aggravation strikes.
- Meditation– There are many different forms of meditation and it’s whichever style that resonates with you that can help you manage your stress. Meditation is like a cozy space that can bring peace in hectic moments- the more you practice, the easier it gets. It’s basically focusing on something that gets you in the present moment. Focus can be on breath, a mantra, a word, vision, sound, body, compassion, gratitude, chakras or even whatever is coming up. If you have never meditated or are new to it, guided meditations are very helpful. There are lots of free guided meditations on youtube or you can use apps like Calm, Headspace, or Breethe. Once you get the hang of it, the focus gets easier and you could be in a constant meditative state with whatever you are doing and in return your choices will be more intuitive or from the heart.
- Nature– This can go two ways; getting out into nature or remembering that you are nature. When we are outside in nature we can see and experience the chaos and beauty that is ordinary and organic. Connecting with nature can help you realize you are part of nature including your life with all the stressors. This can help you to let go and see that everything is okay already. There are studies that show biomarkers for stress are reduced when outside in nature.
- Action– Stress can spiral into anxiety that can be crippling & create a feeling of paralysis. Action can be doing something to fix the situation and getting you out of the mind spiraling thought train. Many actions can be helpful as long as you aren’t in your head thinking of things that already passed or what’s going to happen. Some examples are writing lists, prioritizing, making phone calls, volunteering, bonding with pet, praying, donating, journaling, asking someone for help, therapy, connecting with a person, taking a hot bath, drinking herbal tea, laughing, creating art or doing a hobby you love. Just avoid multitasking as that is stressful. Remember to shift and focus on one task at a time.
- Movement– Many studies show physical exercise can reduce stress and stimulate endorphins & other happy brain chemicals. So swim, bike, dance, run, walk, hike, do aerobics, weight lift, climb stairs, play sports or do yoga. There are many benefits to exercising and reducing the stress hormones is one of them. It can be as little as 10 minutes a day to have an affect on stress.
- Consume Less– There are certain things that can induce stress. A big one is watching/listening to negative media. Try to reduce the amount of news/media/TV consumed. We want to stay informed but it may be helpful to put a limit on it so it doesn’t affect our mental health or productivity. Alcohol, sugar, processed carbohydrates, & excess caffeine are also stress inducers to limit. I’m also gonna throw in clutter/materialism in here because I believe less is more for lots of folks. Clearing your surroundings can help you clear your mind.
- Aromatherapy– This is breathing in aromatic essential oils from plants which can relieve stress. To inhale these oils you can use a diffuser, spray, steam bath or breath straight from the bottle. There aren’t loads of studies to prove this works but there are some. You can always try and see if it makes you feel calmer. My favorite for reducing stress are; lavender, sweet orange, clary sage, cedarwood, & frankincense. Be aware some people can have skin allergies if used topically so I don’t recommend that unless you know how to do it properly.
- Yoga– I know I brought this up under exercise but I bring it up again because it really is so much more than exercise. Yoga is an ancient practice from India that focuses on uniting the mind and body. There are many types/styles of yoga and yoga is for everyone, you just have to find the one you prefer the most. Like exercise, there are many benefits of practicing yoga including stress reduction.* If you are new to yoga there are yoga studios, free youtube videos and subscription online classes available. My favorites for virtual yoga are Yoga with Chaz, and Yogagirl. These pandemic days I’ve found a way to go in person on Sarah’s (yoga instructors) deck.
- Let it go– Easier said than done, I know. When someone is anxious or stressed and you say “calm down” I think it makes them feel even more stressed. The key here is just knowing that whatever the pain/frustration is just know it will pass. Everything is temporary, so if you are in the current moment of feeling pain, anger, sadness, or overwhelmed just feel it and don’t try to avoid it. But do know it will be over and then you can let it go. This reminds me of a cute acronym I heard in yoga class the other day: H.O.P.E- Hold On Pain Ends.
No content on this site, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.