No one has to tell you how awful stress feels, and we all know it takes so many forms and no one is safe from stress in their lives. However, there is something we can do to counteract it, both in the moment and to increase our resistance to the effects of stress over the long term.
This is an effective short-term solution for dealing with stress in the moment. Breathing may sound too basic to be found effective ,but there’s a reason it’s been the go-to stress reliever used for thousands of years. It works.
The 4-7-8 technique is a way to take it down a notch in the moment. Although it’s simple and straight forward, you’ll be far more relaxed after several of these deep breaths.
You breathe in for 4 seconds. Hold for 7 seconds.
Breathe out for 8 seconds.
It’s also an effective method, when used intermittently throughout the day BEFORE you’re triggered by a stressful situation. You can train your nervous down to a lower stress baseline, by using these breathing techniques regularly throughout the day.
Doing so will help you react more calmly to stressful events throughout the day so that eventually, the circumstance that usually makes you want to tear your hair out, might just mildly annoy you.
Research has shown that just five minutes of exercise can drop your stress levels. Further research recommends that incorporating a regular exercise routine 4 to 5 times per week can actually keep stress from building(similar to the nervous system retraining done through consistent breathing techniques daily).
The reason for this is that when you exercise, your body releases positive hormones into your bloodstream which reduce are released into the bloodstream that helps you to feel better. Go ahead and head out the door for that brisk walk or go to the nearest gym to see if it works for you.
There are countless research articles identifying the massive benefits from regular exercise, including stress relief. Harvard recently conducted research pointed to the stress relief and relaxation attached to exercise.
They point out how, at first, exercise will feel like work as you begin making it a habit. Then, it will become fun and shortly after, you’ll come to depend on it.
The beneficial factors are of a neuro-chemical bases, reducing adrenaline and cortisol(both linked to fat storage).
Not only does it reduce these negative fat-storing hormones, it increases the good ones like endorphins(pain-killer and mood enhancer).
Self image also naturally improves as exercise becomes a regular habit. With tone tightening up and strength increases, your mental strength and self-love also level up.
Some people might think that keeping a journal or diary is juvenile, but it’s actually been proven to lower stress levels.
When you put your thoughts down on paper, your brain is able to let them go. You can stop worrying that you might forget about it, or rather that you need to remember them because you know that they’re safely stored, right there in your journal. You can go back to reference your idea, note, schedule reminder, etc. whenever you need to. This has the ability to greatly improve your quality of life as a result.
A recent study from Positive Psychology Program notes that journaling/expressive writing has been found to: boost your mood/affect, enhance your sense of well-being, reduce symptoms of depression before an important event (like an exam), reduce intrusion and avoidance symptoms post-trauma, improve your working memory. The process helps people release their emotions. Many also agree that journaling helps them look at situations realistically which enables them to come up with reasonable and actionable plans.
DECLUTTER YOUR LIFE
All you have to do is log in to Netflix to know that people are realizing just how much clutter and “stuff” is taking over and causing problems in our life. The newest hit stars organizer Marie Kondo, who documents the variety of ways in which you can simplify and organize your life. The results of which calms you down in ways you may not have expected.
Decluttering your surroundings and schedule often helps to reduce stress levels. A great place to start is by donating or tossing the things you don’t use or enjoy any longer. Then you’re able to focus on organizing the things that you decide to keep(only things that are truly useful or valuable to you).
You can start with one area of your home where you find very little emotional attachment. Organize in DONATE, KEEP, TOSS piles. Once you get going, you’ll quickly find that the process snowballs and you’ll make enormous progress quickly and really start to appreciate what you’ve done. Remember that seeing the same messes and clutter every day can take a toll on your mental health. https://curiousmindmagazine.
Crickets? Ok, we all know volunteering is important, essential to our society and serves the people we’re volunteering for but also feeds our spirits. That said, the word “volunteering” may also make you want to run and hide since, although you know you should be volunteering on some level in some capacity, how will you ever find time to squeeze it into your schedule? Beyond that, where would you even volunteer?
Becoming aware of just how blessed you are, regardless of your circumstances, gives you the ability to let go of things that are creating stress in your life.
Volunteering can allow you to build a new network of close friends and community connections. A huge bonus that comes from volunteering is the shift in focus from your problems, to other people’s misfortune. Once you start paying attention to others’ problems in view of ways
you can help, it will immediately begin to dissolve the weight you feel from your own problems. This perspective is incredibly healthy for your mental and emotional well-being.
The results from stress on the body can easily develop into chronic issues. We challenge you to begin in one of these categories. Start small, do one thing. One thing better than yesterday. And naturally let it build into the next healthy thing you do for yourself. This is how stress loses control over your life and how you begin to thrive and level up as the person you were built to be.
Go out and punch today in the face. And Stay awesome.