Most of us are familiar with the damaging effects of stress to the physical body and to our emotional health. We’ve read the articles, we’ve heard the stories and, if we’re honest, we’ve experienced a good deal of it ourselves. Stress can be toxic; increasing the risk of all chronic disease and reducing our quality of life. It’s enough to throw us into panic and create even more stress.
So, should we run for the hills and try to escape it all?
This may be tempting at the best of times, but it’s probably not the wisest solution at the end of the day. A more authentic approach would be to acknowledge that life is stressful. With life, comes stress. The difference lies in how we manage those stressors. We can either allow stress to hijack our bodies, eventually manifesting itself in some kind of disease state, or we can choose to become empowered and find a way to manage our stress effectively, so that our bodies can enjoy a disease-free life.
Learning how to manage our stress effectively is not something that happens overnight – it’s a process. I love working with clients on this subject because once clients become empowered with the tools to managing their stressors and grant themselves the permission to live an authentic life, everything falls into place and health comes naturally.
Each person is unique, which is why I work intimately with clients in creating their own self-care toolkit. That said, here are some tried and tested stress-busting tips to help banish the negative consequences of long-term stress:
Eat a whole foods diet – fresh foods in place of processed. Eating a diet devoid of nutrients and rich in empty calories and chemicals causes nutritional stress. Ever wondered why you feel tired after lunch? Eating processed food items or foods that are not right for your unique body forces your body to work extra hard. This is a form of stress.
Deep Breathing. You’re probably thinking – I’ve heard this so many times already, same old story. But, have you ever really tried it? Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed try it out. Set your timer for two minutes and focus on your breath for those two minutes. It doesn’t cost money, it’s quick, easy and risk free – you’ve got nothing to lose. There’s a reason why deep breathing features in just about all stress literature: deep breathing turns off your stress response and combats the negative effects of stress.
Engage in moderate exercise. You don’t need to train for a marathon or triathlon to reap the benefits of exercise. In fact, if you’re chronically stressed, long periods of intense aerobic exercise may actually add physical stress to your body. For most people, it’s best to focus on short bursts of exercise, such as a brisk walk, a 20 minute jog, interval training or yoga.
Laugh more. It’s pretty hard to be stressed while laughing. Laughter has long been known to offer wonderful health benefits; it helps us relax and makes us feel happy. Spend time with people who make you laugh, do things that make you laugh. Sometimes it’s actually most fun to laugh at yourself! It takes more muscles to frown than to smile, so why not give your body a break and turn that frown upside down?
Want to talk more about stress? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org