The Stress Detox - Press Pause and Take Back Control
Stress is rush hour traffic when you’re late, an argument with a family member, or persistent employment worries. It’s the unknowns of a medical diagnosis, the demands of caring for an aging parent, or the looming stack of overdue bills.
Many of us experience some type of stress on a regular basis. And our minds tend to amplify and exaggerate it, making things worse. But we can learn to manage stress by asking a few reflective questions that can help determine the best strategy for you.
Here are some questions to consider helping alleviate stress effectively.
Identify your stress triggers: we don’t always notice how stressed we are, especially if we’ve become desensitized to it. Check in with you body and ask: Where is going on in my body? What emotions am I feeling? What am I worried about? What happened? Am I concerned about something that may (or may not) happen in the future?
Unschedule yourself: most people pack the day with to-dos and don’t leave themselves time to transition to the next item. Or they find it difficult to prioritize what’s most important. Looking at your schedule and deciding what’s essential can make a major shift in your stress levels. It helps you control what you can control—and acknowledge what you can’t. If you look at your to-do list, you likely will find at least one thing that can be removed from your day.
Build your stress fitness: like exercise, managing stress in healthy ways gets easier the more you do it. Moving your body everyday, regardless of your fitness level, is the key to releasing “happy hormones” (such as endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, testosterone) to maintain a good neurochemical balance that results in a positive feeling in the body. So, start with as little as one or two minutes (or more, if you’re able) of any exercise and work your way up.
Revitalize your senses: too often we rush through the day without fully experiencing it. Try picking one of your five senses and take five minutes to focus on it. For example, try eating and experiencing your food instead of simply eating for the sake of it, or, when walking in nature, being mindful and focusing your attention on what you see around you can stimulate your senses and help put the mind at ease and relieve stress.
Get some sleep: restful sleep is an essential key to staying healthy and strong, it allows our bodies and brains to feel restored. But our bodies can restore themselves while we’re awake, too. Yoga or mediation is a great restorative practice. You can immediately release tension and create a sense of calmness in your mind and body with just five minutes of deep breathing.
Create a gratitude practice: gratitude is a powerful stress-reducing practice that you can use to expand your happiness. Expressing gratitude with a daily affirmation or in conversation with a friend, partner, or family member can be extremely impactful to your well-being and the well-being of others around you.
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