Stress seems to be a common experience of many people’s lives, so much so that we have an international day to raise awareness on the topic.
Why all of the fuss? Stress poses significant health hazards to include high blood pressure, digestive issues, compromised immune system, weight gain, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, heart disease, and diabetes - just to name a few.
Life is filled with stressors, so what can we do to minimize the impact on our lives?
Identify your stress triggers. Name EVERYTHING that causes you stress.
Is there anything on your list that you can eliminate? Have you over committed yourself by saying yes to things you wished you would have said no to? Are there things you can say no to right now to reduce future stress?
Does changing your perspective help? Like seeing the glass half full vs half empty.
For stress that cannot be eliminated, try some of these hacks to better manage your stress so that it doesn’t negatively impact your health:
Stop several times throughout your day and take three deep “belly” breaths. The kind that really fills up your lungs. Hold the breath for three seconds and slowly exhale.
Laugh at least once a day. Can’t find anything funny in your life? Watch a funny animal video (cats are especially humorous), a funny comedian clip, YouTube video, listen to a funny podcast, etc.
Get plenty of sleep.
Minimize or eliminate alcohol and/or substance use. While these substances reduce the feeling of stress in the moment, they exacerbate overall stress levels and interfere with deep sleep.
Ask for help and support from your friends and family.
Exercise several times a week. Even a short walk or a 10 minute workout on a consistent basis counts. Yes, a relaxing yoga practice counts.
Do something at least once a week that brings you joy.
Try this tapping technique: Think of a place that conjures feelings of peace, joy, and serenity (real or imagined). Really put yourself there - visualize the time of day, temperature, sounds, smells, etc. In a rhythmic, back and forth motion, tap on one leg and then the other. To intensify the experience, do your deep belly breathing and close your eyes. This can be a quick 60 second exercise.
Begin a yoga practice.
Take a minute each day first thing in the morning to center yourself and imagine how you would like your day to progress.
Try one or more items on the above list and find what works for you. We will never completely eliminate stress from our lives, but learning techniques to alter how we feel and react to stress can be life changing.
Want more stress hacks? Comment below.
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