Stress can be described as a feeling of tension in the body and mind. We all experience stress and our health depends on how we deal when it comes our way.
Disturbed sleep, disordered eating, abusing alcohol and drugs, and difficulty making decisions are some health behaviors associated with negative coping strategies. When stress builds up, our bodies actually change because of heightened hormonal levels, like cortisol.
Fortunately, we have a choice to control the way we think and act in any situation. When we practice using a strategies that are helpful, we can bust stress right away!
These are a few methods that I myself, friends, and family have found helpful to relax and stay calm under stress:
1. Breath Awareness
Take a deep breath in while counting 1, 2, 3, 4, then exhale for 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Notice any changes in your mood, heart rate, and thought patterns?
Developing a meditation routine to practice daily can train our brains and bodies to take deep breaths when under stress to relax and stay calm.
Move the body while becoming aware of the breath and mind. Try a class in your community to get started. There are many resources out there. Do your research and find what works!
Journaling and keeping a stress log can identify what stressors are causing tension and what to do about them. Simply write down the time of day, possible causes, and what feelings and thoughts are going on whenever you feel especially tense.
4. Be creative
Drawing, painting nails, swimming, going for a walk, chatting with a friend, and taking a dance class are a few of my personal favorite therapeutic strategies to bust stress and boost “feel good hormones” called endorphins. Do some detective work to try different activities and figure out what uplifts you. There are many options!
Laughter is a great way to boost feel-good hormones, too, and that is why some people refer to it as the best medicine!
Reduced stress and anxiety
Decreased irritability and moodiness
Increased ability to concentrate and focus
Increased serotonin levels, linked with lower levels of depression, anxiety, obesity, and headaches
Triggers the relaxation response, slowing the heart and breathing rates
Increased energy levels and sleep
Increased immunity to illness
How do you handle stress when it comes your way? Leave a comment below.