Updated: Mar 3, 2020
There are ways to de-stress and get ourselves to a better place quickly. If you practice them daily your perspective on life could change for the better.
When we experience anxiety, fear and stress our body produces hormones like cortisol, which is responsible for the “fight, flight or freeze response.” We breathe more heavily, our heart beats faster and our blood vessels constrict. Since usually we are not really facing imminent danger, like meeting a mountain lion during a hike, such repetitive emotional stress can contribute to chronic conditions like headaches and hypertension, depression, anxiety disorders, and more. Stress can also enhance other conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia etc.
Stress has a negative effect on our body and mind when it is not managed correctly.
Since we don’t have a choice when it comes to getting stressed, we can use different strategies and tools to help us keep our stress at check.
Strategies to handle stress:
1. Walk For 10 Minutes- preferably outdoors, where it is green, spacious, and quiet. You can clear your head and boost endorphins (they reduce the stress hormones), getting your body into a state of meditation.
2. Practice Deep Breathing- Deep breathing allows for a boost of oxygen, reduction of blood pressure, which are great indicators for the body that it’s ok to calm down.. Even a few deep breaths can help reduce tension and stress and help relax and nourish the body.
3. Step Away From the Screen - According to a study from the University of Gothenberg in Sweden, uninterrupted computer use has been associated with stress, loss of sleep and depression in women. Additionally, late night computer use was also associated with stress in both men and women. If you need to use your computer for a long period of time, make sure to take frequent breaks, go for a walk, take deep breaths.
4. Progressive Muscle Relaxation - Start with your toes and work your way up, tighten your foot muscles as much as you can and then relax them. Make your way up, tighten and relax each muscle until you’ve finished with your face. This fun practice can help reduce anxiety and stress and be more mindful to what is going on in your body.
5. See you BFF -Research has proven that close friendships can reduce the production of cortisol and produce more serotonin. BFFs’ provide a safe place to talk, share and lay some of the emotional burden we carry around.
6. Laugh More- Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner. Laugh more, and if you find that hard to do, fake it till you make it!
7. Repetitive Motions - can soothe anxiety and stress. When you use fin motor skill repetitively it allows you to set aside disturbing thoughts and emotions. Pick up knitting, Mahjong, chess, or any other activity that brings you back into mindfulness.
8. Turn Off your Phone - Cell phones stress us out. Just hearing your phone ring or a message come through is known to get your stress hormone levels up. Turning your phone off could help the mind and body relax.
9. Identify and Honor Your Needs - Needs are personal prerequisites to happiness, thus we need to recognize and communicate them kindly to ourselves and others. Honor your needs and respect others while getting them fulfilled.
10. Think and Feel Positive - Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t. Research is beginning to reveal that positive thinking is about much more than just being happy or displaying an upbeat attitude. Positive thoughts can actually create real value in your life and help you build skills that last. While negative emotions narrow your mind and focus your thoughts, positive ones will broaden your sense of possibilities and open your mind to more options.
There are more ways to help de-stress, like exercise and eat healthy plant based foods. Find the tools and strategies that help you. Incorporate them in your life, daily and mindfully.