Let’s face it. We all have stress in our lives. There’s no getting around it in today’s modern world. The key is to understand what stresses us, eliminate what we can, and learn to manage the rest.
Following are a few things you can do to reduce and better manage some of the stress in your life. To start just chose one or two of these activities. The more you enjoy it the more likely you are to stick with it.
- Have plants: this is one of the easiest ways to manage stress. All you need to do is purchase a few plants and place them where you spend a majority of your time…and water them. I’m not great at watering my plants so if that is you get a low maintenance plant like a spider plant or golden pothos. Plants have a ton of great health benefits. They reduce stress, lower blood pressure, increase positive feelings, lower noise levels, and lower humidity. They also clean the air and reduce the toxins that you breathe in. The white peace lily has been shown to reduce mold so consider putting one in your bathroom or any other damp rooms in your home. Succulents, like aloe are good for your bedroom because they release more oxygen
- Practice gratitude: first thing in the morning write down 3-5 things you’re grateful for. You want to reflect on all the positive things going on in your life and you want a record of them. Practicing gratitude has been shown to decreases inflammation, increase happiness & well-being, and improve health.
- Make time for hobbies: a highly enjoyable and great stress reliever. Hobbies promote creativity, decrease fatigue, and can be a great way to meet like minded people. If you had a strenuous hobby like distance running, consider a new hobby that’s more relaxing.
- Get enough sleep: this is the best thing you can do to support your adrenals. You need deep, delta wave sleep to heal and detoxify. Poor sleep = inflammation. If you aren’t getting the sleep you need do whatever you can to improve it.
- Yoga: one of the all time best exercises to combat stress, balance cortisol, and increase serotonin, which puts you in a better mood. If you don’t have a lot of energy avoid the more strenuous flow yoga and practice Pranayama or another form of yoga that emphasizes deep breathing.
- Meditation: reduces anxiety, reduces inflammation, improves focus, learning ability, and thinking, and supports better sleep. Start small and gradually increase otherwise it can be hard to stick with. Consistency is key. Doing 5 minutes daily is better than doing an hour once a week.
- Walking: great for thinking, clearing your mind, coming up with new ideas, and creativity. Walking also enhances immunity, well-being, and is a natural antidepressant.
- Good Relationships: spend quality time with family and friends. Avoid anyone who brings you down. This is one of the secrets of the Blue Zones, areas around the world where a high percentage of people live into their hundreds. Research shows that spending time with family and friends adds 8 years to your life.
- Improve self talk: how you talk to yourself really matters. Your subconscious is way more powerful than your conscious mind so it’s important to plant the right seeds. Instead of telling yourself I always feel horrible, say I am making healthy choices and feeling a little better each day. Flip your negative self talk around and you can eventually reprogram yourself.
- Deep nasal breathing: this has so many great benefits. You get more oxygen in your blood, you remove CO2 from your blood, it moves your lymph (body’s detoxification system), and it increases alpha brain wave (relaxing) activity. See the accompanying video on how to do 4-7-8 breathing, 5-5-5-5 box breathing (used by Navy Seals), and warrior breathing.
REMEMBER: Become aware of the stressors in your environment, eliminate what you can, and manage the rest.
Let me know which technique you tried and how it worked for you. I wish you reduced stress and success in managing the rest. 🙂