Stress is ever present in life these days. It builds as technology demands your time, working hours never seem to end, family responsibilities grow, health issues require attention, and financial worries are ever present. Stress involves a series of hormonal responses. When facing a stressful situation blood pressure and heart rate increase. Chronic stress is harmful to your health. Stress has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, premature aging, obesity, and premature death. Effectively managing stress is vital to maintaining your health.
Take steps to manage your stress, whether you have a minute, or several hours:
1 minute BREATHE
Provide your body with a wave of relaxation by simply using your breath. Whether your stress is related to parking your truck, a fight with your spouse, or your child’s failed test, your breath can help you deal with the issue. Focusing on the breath you will slow your heart rate, lower your blood pressure, and clear your mind. Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for 2, then breathe out for a count of 8. Alternatively, take a nice deep breath and think IN as you breathe in, and OUT when you breathe out. Practice these simple breathing exercises during non-stressful times, and be ready to put them to action when faced with a never ending traffic jam.
5 minutes JOURNAL
Write down your thoughts and worries, to gain perspective and get a feeling of control. Record happy or funny thoughts and focus on the positive parts of your day that make you grateful. Let the tough things in your life rest on paper, and take a break. Write your thoughts in a small notebook at the same time each day.
10 minutes MEDITATE
Meditation is a practice that can quiet the thoughts in your head, prevent depression, limit stress, reduce anxiety and make you a happier person. Meditation can be as simple as focusing on the breath, a few positive words, or progressively relaxing each part of your body. Several recent studies from a Harvard Neuroscience, demonstrate that meditation can even increase the gray matter in the brain leading to improved memory and decision-making.Try a meditation application, like Headspace and Calm.
15 minutes WALK
Physical activity reorganizes the brain so that its response to stress is reduced and anxiety is less likely to interfere with normal brain function, according to a study from Princeton University. Walking, like other physical activity, provides a protective mechanism in the form of calming neurons. Take a break from your stress and go for a 15 minute, vigorous walk outside, in a shopping mall, or on the treadmill.
4 hours GET OUTSIDE
Studies continually prove that time in nature reduces stress and reduces the incidents of mental illness. A recent study out of Stanford University demonstrated that a walk in nature reduces participant’s likelihood to ruminate over the various stresses in their lives. Humans are naturally designed to find trees, plants, water, and wildlife engaging. After a busy week, plan an outing to the woods, lake, or mountains. Regular exposure to nature will help keep your stress in check.
A Rolling Strong Coach can help you with stress management strategies.