In our previous posts, we talked about the stress hormone cortisol and the negative effects that it has on our bodies. We also talked about aromatherapy and highlighted some ways to turn our environments into restful spaces in order to promote healing. So the question remains, how do we relieve stress?
As mentioned in one of our earliest posts, the mind has a significant role in how we feel physically. What we think has a direct correlation to what we feel. So one of the first steps in relieving your stress is in believing that it can actually be done. It's good to note that feelings of skepticism or doubt are natural, but we don't want to allow those feelings to impede our progress.While there are numerous ways to go about relieving stress, we will only discuss 3 ways in this article.
When you take a deep breath, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. As as a result, our muscle tension is reduced and our bodies begin to loosen up. There are numerous deep breathing exercises that you can try. And you don't have to be anywhere special to perform them. My favorite breathing exercise is the 4-7-8 method.
Inhale for 4 seconds
Hold for 7 seconds
Exhale for 8 seconds
Generally I like to do 10 sets of breaths and I feel so much better afterward. However, you can do more if you'd like. Always try to do a minimum of 5 sets of breaths.
Our muscles have the tendency to store up tension. After a prolonged period of time this can cause physical discomfort and pain. Stretching is a process of causing your muscles to shorten and lengthen. This helps to relieve that tension and further loosen your muscles to make them more flexible. When combined with controlled breathing, stretching does excellent at relieving mental as well as physical stress symptoms. There are so many different stretches to choose from, but I like to focus on the ones that target high tension areas: neck, shoulders, and lower back.
Check out this pin I found that has very useful stretches to choose from:
Since the mind has such a powerful impact on how we feel, positive thinking certainly can relieve our stress. Here are some of my key affirmations I try to keep in mind each day.
I can do this.
I am good enough.
I choose to be happy.
I love my life and everyone in it.
I am not defined by my past or my mistakes.
What makes these affirmations so powerful? Many times we are so consumed by deadlines, negative news, and other aspects of life that drain us. These affirmations help us to recognize that despite everything we deal with, we can pull through and make the best of any situation. It's always easier to handle things when we have a positive outlook on them.
To be honest, this article barely scratched the surface of ways to relieve stress. However, it provided practical advice that you can pretty much do virtually anywhere. We plan to update this article as we gather more info and provide even more advice in the near future.