Stress! Very few people go a day without some sort of stress in their lives. From one day to the next, it seems to follow us, snowballing into mountains of worry that rob of us of freedom, happiness and relaxation. Who has time to relax when there is so much to fret about? If the thought of sitting still long enough to read the newspaper, watch a movie or listen to some calming music makes you crazy with anxiety, it might be time to learn how to reduce stress in your life.
Psychologists admit that low doses of stressors in our lives are healthy and help us to reach higher and accomplish more. The problem is that most people experience stress as an all or nothing emotion. When stress sits below the surface ready to explode at any moment it makes you moody, nervous, unhealthy, unhappy and instable. It also disallows you to find the simple pleasures in life. You may spend your days and nights with a heightened sense of anxiety or that inner stirring that you can’t quite put your finger on. If you wake up at two in the morning and your mind immediately jumps to your to-do list, stress in your life has become overwhelming.
The medical community links every chronic illness, pain and disease to stress and there is a lot of evidence that suggests all disorders are rooted in emotional sources. Many people who are overloaded with stress suffer from an inability to concentrate, loss of short-term memory, chronic infections such as acne, boils or sinus trouble as well as heart palpitations, fatigue, insomnia, muscle and joint pains as well as issues with weight and nutrition. The sad part is that few people realize there are two words that can make it all better. Just breathe!
There is no reason to live your life in flight mode, which no doubt has you constantly at the edge of your seat, just waiting for the bottom to drop out. Not only is it unhealthy, it goes against the laws of attraction, which clearly show you reap what you sow (or think about). Ask yourself, what if everything was going to work itself out in time and be okay? Would wasting your life succumbing to stress be worth it then?
The time to change is now. There are many things that you can do to learn how to reduce stress and eliminate the physical and mental symptoms you are no doubt experiencing. Breathing is definitely one of them. You take millions of breaths every day without realizing it. When you consciously breathe holding an inhale and exhale for three seconds, it has an immediate physiological effect on your body and mind. You lower your pulse, your blood pressure and fill your lungs to capacity with life giving oxygen when you take concentrated breaths. This also is proven to release endorphins, which are critical for relaxation as well as reverse the physical symptoms of stress in the body and mind. All you have to do is inhale for three seconds, hold for three seconds and then release for three seconds. Taking 10-15 minutes in the morning and evening to do this can reduce stress immensely.
Another important lesson on how to reduce stress in your life is to get active. It doesn’t matter what you enjoy doing, as long as it gets you moving. Where so many people go wrong is they try to incorporate complicated exercise programs into their life, which only causes more stress. Take a walk, take a yoga class or play the Wii with your children. One of the best ways reduce stress is to swim. Water has a naturally soothing effect on the body and when the body is submerged there is comforting silence and peace. Laughing is another natural stress reliever. When you feel wound up, pop in your favorite comedy and let the laughter roll. No one can discount sex as a welcome way to release stress. Rather than feel too stressed to have sex, use it as an enjoyable way to let yourself go and reduce stress. Sex can help migraines, tension in the body and it too releases natural endorphins.
While alcohol and other drugs or stimulants are not recommended, enjoying a glass of red wine can help with stress. The anthocyanins in wine help the body to relax and are heart healthy often lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. Commit to enjoying a glass of red wine each night, listening to relaxing music and just enjoying the moment. If you find that stress in your life is at all time highs, chances are you are reaching for unhealthy foods, cigarettes, beer, endless cups of coffee or other harmful things. While they may make you feel better in the moment they actually have the opposite effect on body chemistry.
Learning how to reduce stress is really a life skill. Take time to meditate, pray and relinquish the false sense of control that you feel you have. There are higher powers working in your favor and most of the time, our worries are much more extreme than the realities we face. Gratitude journals, setting goals and learning how to implement a positive attitude in thought and speech can be transformational. Relocate your passions and make feeling happy be a priority in your life. Whether it is the dishes that are nagging you from the kitchen or the bills in the drawer that need paying; all of it will wait for you; unlike many other things in your life that won’t. When you think about it, the things, people or ideas in your head that are causing you to feel tremendous stress are not worth sacrificing your health or wellbeing for.