Stress, whether caused by a major crisis or something minor, is something most of us have experienced at some point in our lives. While for some it’s not often, for others it’s a daily occurrence. Since it’s something most of us go through, we need to learn how to effectively manage stress.
Even the happiest people on the planet experience some amount of stress. It’s not the stress that’s necessarily the problem, it’s how they move through it.
The body is beautifully designed to manage acute stress (for example, jumping out of harm’s way if a car is coming towards you). When stress is chronic and prolonged however, that’s when it becomes toxic and burdens the body. So since there will always be some amount of stress in your life, how can you manage it more effectively?
Try these tips:
1.Do some physical exercise. (Check with your doctor first). While it might seem contradictory to
combat stress with physical exercise, exerting your body appropriately can help you manage stress.
Whether it’s the rhythmic movement of a walk to allow you to decompress, or hitting a punching
bag to release the pent up emotions, exercise is a powerful way to reduce stress while elevating your
mood as well.
- Exercise can relieve brain fog, relieve stress, and help you feel more in control of your emotions. A good exercise routine can also support quality sleep, which is important for stress management.
- To begin exercising, you might try taking a walk, doing some yoga poses, lifting weights, or taking a class. Once you find something you like, make it a regular part of your routine.
- You’ll find that the positive effects on your health, mind, and mood will make exercising a stress relieving activity you look forward to.
2. Focus on your breathing. A simple task like focusing on your breathing can quickly calm you
down and help rebalance the nervous system. Focus on breathing in and out. Count how many
seconds it takes for one inhalation and exhalation.
- At first, this might sound like an easy goal. But you may be surprised that it can be challenging to concentrate on your breathing. Like anything else, it gets easier the more you practice.
- The best thing about breathing is that you can do it anywhere and at any time. I mean, you’re breathing anyway, right? It won’t make you feel uncomfortable if people are around because no one will know what you’re doing.
3. Limit caffeine. Caffeinated drinks are causes of stress for many people. Caffeine has a stimulant effect that creates anxiety for some and causes them to feel jittery.
- Instead of drinking coffee, try drinking decaffeinated tea in the morning or herbal tea at night. The herbs in tea have calming properties, helping you relax and fall asleep.
- And although you may feel tempted to drink several cups of coffee during the day, best to stop drinking anything caffeinated by noon to ensure it won’t disrupt your sleep.4. Spend time with those you love. Your social support system can have a major positive effect, helping you deal with your stress. If you don’t currently surround yourself with loving and supportive people, reach out and build stronger connections.
- Closeness and connection releases oxytocin, a hormone that promotes feelings of calm and relaxation.
- Spending time with those you love also allows for time for love and laughter. Laughing is great to combat stress and a good belly laugh will work your abs too!
- Supplement appropriately. Toxic, unmanaged stress creates a continual demand for your adrenals to output cortisol-the stress hormone. Over time, this creates symptoms, illnesses and conditions. Rebalance your adrenals and create a sense of calm by supplementing appropriately.
Managing stress is about finding healthy ways to handle an appropriate amount of stress, while finding other ways to reduce, eliminate and/or delegate whatever is creating a sense of overload. Only you know what’s important for you to handle and what you may be better off letting go of. And, while it may be hard to seek support when stress levels get too high, it’s important for your health, well-being and sanity.
Founder and CEO, The PBT (Post Betrayal Transformation) Institute