It seems like the more technology is supposed to simplify our lives, the more stressed we become. Stress is a normal reaction to the increasing demands and conflicts we face in our everyday lives. In the United States, over 70% of people regularly report having physical and psychological symptoms of stress.
Our bodies are wired for the “fight or flight” response when we feel threatened. Often, our bodies perceive the causes of our stress as threats and react by releasing hormones that would allow you to react to the threat.
When the threat has subsided, your body should return to a relaxed state. However, when the stressors aren’t removed, the threat persists, and our bodies remain under constant stress. Having stress hormones coursing through your body on a daily basis can lead to emotional and health issues. This is why it’s important to learn to manage stress.
How stress influences you?
In order to begin managing your stress, you need to identify what causes it and work to remove or reduce those factors. Many people can identify with major stressors such as money troubles, job issues, relationship conflicts, and life changes.
Sometimes the less significant stressors of daily life are overlooked. These include things like long daily commutes, rushed mornings, and household chores. Being able to recognize the stress triggers in your life is the first step in managing stress.
Once you understand where your stress is coming from, you can start to focus on developing healthy coping strategies. Most important is to take care of yourself. East a healthy, well-balanced diet and get plenty of rest.
It is best to avoid using alcohol and drugs to cope with stress as these tend to create additional problems. When your body is well-nourished and cared for, it can react better to stressful situations.
How to deal with stress?
Physical activity is another way to improve the health of your body while reducing the negative impact stress can have on your life. Exercise can boost mental health, reduce fatigue, improve focus, and enhance cognitive function.
Physical activity causes your body to produce endorphins which are hormones that reduce feelings of pain and improve mood. Scientists have found that even five minutes of exercise can produce enough endorphins to reduce stress levels.
Yoga is a form of exercise that has proven to be an effective way to combat anxiety. When we are stressed and anxious, many people hold tension in their shoulders, necks, jaws, back, and even in the pelvic region.
This tension can then feedback to our minds and perpetuate the feeling of unease in an unending cycle. A daily yoga practice can be a powerful tool to calm your nervous systems and relieve stress.
Yoga can be done by all ages and all athletic levels and can be practiced in a studio, at home, or even outdoors in nature. There are many types of yoga that incorporate a variety of poses that will leave you feeling calmer.
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Focused breathing is another method used to reduce anxiety. When you are feeling stressed, focus on breathing deep into your diaphragm. This engages the entire body and is believed to increase the supply of oxygen to your brain which promotes a state of calm.
To help you learn to breathe from your diaphragm, start in a seated or standing position and place one hand on your chest with the other on your stomach directly below your ribs. Close your eyes, then take a long, slow, deep inhalation through your nose until you feel a stretch in your lungs.
Concentrate on inflating your diaphragm, not your chest. Your chest should barely move, while the other hand feels a push as your stomach rises. When you can no longer take in more air, pause, then exhale fully through your mouth.
As you exhale, relax your entire body. Your exhale should last twice as long as your inhale. Repeat this breathing exercise any time you are in a stressful situation.
Mindfulness meditation is another aspect of yoga that can help your mind let go of the issues causing you to worry. You want to choose a quiet place to meditate where you won’t be disturbed.
As you begin your meditation, set an intention that you choose to let go of all your troubles. If your mind wanders, acknowledge what is happening and reset by refocusing your gaze and concentrating on your breath.
Don’t judge yourself when you find yourself distracted. Meditation can help you see past your stress, freeing you from the lingering negativity it can create.
Stress is a state in which one can be agitated, angry, anxious, tense or fearful. Healthy living combined with physical activity and relaxation techniques can help you to overcome the physical and mental effects of chronic stress. So, the next time you feel your body begin to tense, take a deep breath and enjoy the calmness.
About the Author:
Szymon is the founder of Love Meditating, a meditation-yoga blog dedicated to providing honest advice and information. He aspires to help his readers achieve inner peace and tranquility, sharing personal tips learned through both years of experience and thorough research.