Got stress? If so, you're not alone. Stress is highly prevalent in our society and follows most of us throughout the day, causing anxiety, high blood pressure, difficulty in our relationships and just an overall feeling of blah. Stress can be beneficial at times. When we have to follow through on a project, get a task completed, or run from a bear, it can be most useful. Though stress originates in our heads, it travels through our body wreaking havoc. Your stress is your thoughts and comes from resistance to a current situation that we often have little control over. It also shows up when we let our thoughts travel to regret over the past, or worry about the future. This too we have little control over. So, it appears that our stress may have more to do with our lack of control than it does over what is actually occurring. Let's see if we can bring that control back to where it belongs with some stress management advice.
The first step to minimizing stress is awareness. How are you breathing? What does your chest feel like? Why? Can you bring your thoughts to the present moment and become aware of what is going on and how you are reacting? Now….
Take Five Deep Breaths
Breathing brings you out of your head and into your body, which can be extremely helpful for stress management. It also increases your oxygen uptake and helps to blow off carbon dioxide. All of this means you are calmer and in sync with the here and now.
Movement is among the stress management tools that can go a long way in reducing your stress levels. Movement is great for the body and the brain and increases endorphins, which make you feel great. Even difficult movement, strenuous activities, or learning something new makes us feel better and is a great stress reducer. In fact, movement works much like a filter to reduce incoming stress. You can dance, take a walk, swim, bike, play a sport, or climb your favorite mountain. Be sure to move throughout the day, every day.
Find the Arts
Art, some say, is like prayer. Whether you are a writer, poet, musician, painter, cook, designer, sculptor, or freestyle artist, art provides heavy handwork and is a phenomenal stress reducer. Art might not be one of the first things that come to mind when you think about how to prevent stress, but the best thing is, you don’t even have to be an artist! Art is for everyone and brings us closer to our self and others. We can even make art out of something that already exists. So don't be shy. Give art a try!
Your Sensory Spa to the Rescue
There is nothing like a day at the spa to take away your worries. Did you know you can create your owns sensory spa? A multisensory room can reduce stress, agitation, and anxiety and is a terrific calm-down spot after a stressful day, or for a mid-day break. It can be difficult to imagine the effects until you have seen one in action, but people come back to sensory spas for a regular de-stress fix.
Take a Nature Walk
Go find something green, blue, or brown. Take your stress outside and try a walk through the woods, a park, or green area. You can head to the beach, mountains, or a garden. Time outdoors among natural surroundings can have a profound effect in stress management; so add it to your regular routine.
Talk It Out
Talking to a friend, family member, or therapist can help you release and understand your stress. A good therapist can help you manage it and understand useful ways to overcome stress. Writing out your feelings can be beneficial too, but talking it is extremely helpful. If you have trouble voicing your own feelings, try reading a story or poem out loud. And don't forget your favorite tunes. Singing is another form of vocalization that can help with breathing and relaxation.
Fido Can Really Help
Pets are known to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. People who own pets are often more centered, calmer, and at least when around their pet, feel a sense of peace. Just touching a pet can reduce stress. If you cannot own a pet, you might be able to help a pet owner out or find a way to visit, volunteer, or work with animals.
Remember…. Stress is a resistance to a current situation. It’s a fight or flight response. If we can offset stress before it occurs, we can reduce anxiety and inflammation and a cascade of negative effects. That is not to say that all stress is bad. Some stress can motivate, but if an overabundance of stress does occur, we should re-evaluate the current situation. Perhaps a change is necessary.
With this stress management advice in mind, you have various strategies to implement and help reduce your stress levels.