You know the feeling, we all do. When your muscles ache with tightness, your brain can’t stop thinking and you feel like there is so much to do you can’t stop for a second. Stress is something that we all deal with from time to time. It often creeps up on us and then suddenly we are at a breaking point. Stress is a perception of situations. It isn’t actually a real tangible thing, however it does create real and tangible symptoms if we let it. Many people end up with pain, some become overweight from emotional eating, others sluggish from drinking too much, etc. These are all things that we do when we get into this state when we let stress become real in our life.
Another symptom when we are feeling stressed is our lack of compassion for others. We begin getting short tempered or just tuning out to others because we already have too much to think about. Next thing we know we hurt someone unintentionally because we became more focused on us and whatever is causing our stress, rather than the people that matter most to us. If we do this long enough or often enough we can seriously damage meaningful relationships in our lives.
The good news is stress that is something you can mitigate in your life. It would be unrealistic to think you can instantly remove it however there are things you can integrate in your life to minimize the chances of stress getting out of hand and causing an impact. Doing these things all the time will also help you from being venerable to stress.
Eating well – When we are stressed often we change our eating habits and become less concerned with that we are choosing to eat. We gravitate to what is quick and easy or what gives us comfort. Often these are things like sugars, unhealthy carbs, alcohol, etc. All of these things cause inflammation in the body and will deplete your energy levels. It will cause you to feel worse, therefore more sensitive to stress and you eat more of it. It is a vicious cycle and your body pays dearly for it. Think about what your patterns are when you are stressed and try to come up with healthy options to eat/drink instead of your normal defaults. This will help relieve some of the effects stress has on the body.
Stretch – Although a complete exercise routine would be ideal, when people are so busy adding an hour of exercising every day may seem overwhelming. Integrating stretching a couple times a day for a couple minutes does wonders for helping with stress. It helps relieve the tight muscles and gives you a couple minutes to break from everything to get re-centered.
Sleep – Often when we get busy the first thing we cut out is time to sleep. It is either because we keep completing tasks past our bedtime, or we want to squeeze in relaxation time before we sleep and didn’t give enough time for it. Either way, the more sleep you steal from your body, the more stressed you will become and the less productive. Sleepy bodies and brains don’t work nearly as well as rested ones. This is one thing you shouldn’t ever compromise.
Meditate – Meditation helps you train your brain to make space for quiet. This allows you to stop constantly thinking about the running to-do list. You can’t force these thoughts to quit in meditating but focusing on something else, like a mantra, your breathing or a prayer, helps your brain rest from the thoughts. This calmness will become more natural and occur in a non-meditative state as well. This will help you sleep better and focus on one task at a time.
Ask for support – Support may be someone just listening so you can get emotional stress out or it may be asking someone to help do things for you. Whatever the case may be, it is important to recognize when your plate is too full and you need help. Friends and family want to see you healthy and happy. Helping you get there is a key part of these relationships and I am sure the day will come when you can help them.
Find a beautiful place – Find somewhere close to your home where you can go and look at something beautiful often. It can be nature, art, watching kids play, amazing architecture, etc. Whatever it may mean to you, seeing beauty helps you focus on the good in life and remove the focus from the stress. Taking a few breaths and enjoying a moment of beauty can help you feel calmer instantly.
Never forget, stress isn’t real. It is a perception and allowing that perception to bring havoc to your life isn’t necessary or healthy.
Let go of what doesn’t matter, focus on what does, and honor your health and wellbeing always.