Most of us experience some level of stress in our daily lives, and regardless of whether an event is productive or detrimental depends on both the context and duration. For instance, if you are out hiking and sense that a bear is nearby, your reaction could be the difference between life or death. That is “good stress” and comes from our most primitive reaction to danger, the fight-or-flight response.
Surprisingly, it is actually the persistent and lingering stressors that are most detrimental to your overall fitness and well-being. Miscommunications, holding onto resentments, and toxic environments are just a few of the factors that chip away at health and wellness. Over time, and without diligent intervention however, these seemingly trivial annoyances can add up to larger, chronic mental and physical health issues.(1)
Becoming aware of the situations and triggers that cause you to experience tension and anxiety is the first step in reducing stress in your life. Next, learning to recognize your typical responses is necessary if you truly wish to reduce stress and maintain good health. Finally, replacing negative patterns with conscientious changes is the best way to ensure overall health and wellness. Consider the following suggestions and check out the links for further details.
- Practice writing down three (3) things or people that you are thankful for
Every. Single. Day.
- Doing this first thing each morning sets the tone for your day; alternatively, writing out your gratitude list before bed each night leads to a more restful and positive sleep
Regular, daily exercise breaks
- Practice regular desk yoga
- Take a brisk walk without checking your phone
- Are you outside? Focus on the beauty of your surroundings. Allow each of your senses to explore the sounds, scents, and other elements
- Are you indoors? Pop in the earbuds and listen to classical music or nature sounds
Practice deep breathing
- Instantly calm yourself with a mini chill sesh!
- Simply sit or stand and press your feet into the ground
- Pull your shoulders back and inhale deeply through the nose
- Hold for 10 seconds and feel your breath fill your chest and belly
- Slowly exhale with mouth relaxed or lips pursed
- Repeat this sequence 5-10 more times
- Set deep breathing reminder alarms on your phone or computer
Learn how to practice mindfulness in everything
- Mindfulness is essentially learning how to BE PRESENT in each and every moment. This awareness takes a little practice, but once you master it, you will discover that every experience is rich with beauty and potential. Mindful eating means that food tastes better. Mindful sleeping yields greater rest. Mindfulness can be applied to anything and practicing will help you to focus your thoughts and calm your mind
- This excellent site offers free tips, videos, worksheets, and links
- The Headspace app provides innovative and highly effective tools for finding your serenity
Discover what different colors sound like
- You have probably heard of “white noise” but did you know there are a variety of colors corresponding to different sounds? This brief article explains further
- This amazing site lets you create your own virtual color sound machine
Practice saying “no” when something triggers stress
- This should be a no-brainer, and yet, prioritizing your needs takes practice
- Setting healthy boundaries early on – whether at home, work, or play, is one sure way to mitigate stressful interactions
- Keep saying “no” until your intentions are clearly understood
Water, water everywhere
- Water is elemental. It is utterly awe-inspiring to contemplate the vast ocean
- Go to the beach and watch the waves whenever you are feeling stressed. The sound and sight of water is known to slow down our theta brain waves(2)
- The sound of water can slow down our breathing and provide instant calm. If you can’t get to the sea, then run yourself a bath and enjoy a relaxing soak
National Relaxation Day is August 15. Please help promote stress reduction by sharing these tools with folks who might benefit. Hakuna matata!