Combating Stress

We all live with stress. Some have minor stress and some have major stress in their lives. Learning how to manage our stress levels can create a more satisfying enjoyable life.

Prayer & Meditation: Taking 5 to 10 minutes in the morning to get your mind quieted focused and in the right place can have huge payoffs. Quietly begin the day with prayer or meditation. This can help relax and energize you for the day ahead. If you are struggling with negative thoughts keep a gratitude journal close by with a list of all you have to be grateful and thankful for, examples (health, spouse, job, kids, dog, friends, sunshine, running water, food, a mother who cares, and freedom). Visualize yourself having a great day and choosing to stay positive in light of difficult moments that may come your way.

Deep Breathing: Take a deep belly breath and hold for 5 seconds then slowly release out. Repeat multiple times to bring you down from a 10 to hopefully a 1. Deep breathing can help calm your body and mind and decrease any anxiety, tension or heightened emotions you may be experiencing.

Exercise: Starting your day with exercise can release serotonin in the brain and combat stress. If you are new to exercise or re-introducing yourself into a routine please do not overwhelm yourself with huge expectation. You do not have to commit to an hour pushing exercise hard. Try and start with 15 or 30 minutes each day, any form of daily exercise is better than none.

Stretch: Sitting for long periods of day can put strain on our backs and throw our body forward. Take periodic breaks to stretch and release the tension and tightness in our neck and back muscles.

Conquering Tasks: Tasks and responsibilities can be overwhelming at times change your “I have to do” thinking to “I get to do.” Manage your stress levels by completing tasks daily. Make a list of daily tasks and mark them off as completed. Procrastinating creates more stress. Remind yourself to keep life simple. Utilize your power to say “No” if the benefits are a simpler life, better mental health, and decreased stress levels.

Transition Back: Take a few minutes on your drive home or when you get home to turn work off and leave demands at the office. Home is a place of love, fun, relaxation, and peace. Change your energy and greet those at home you love with excitement, kindness and show them with your voice and body language that you care. Jobs come and go but family is forever. Remind yourself that work falls below spouse and kids on the priority list and work troubles of today can wait until tomorrow.

Mindfulness: Practice staying in the moment. Enjoy the season of life that you are in today. This time will pass soon enough. Enjoy the beauty in the day. Stop and ask yourself to be present wherever or with whomever you are with. What does this moment look life, feel like, smell like, and taste like? Fully take in the moment. As a reminder we cannot get today back, it is a gift.

Diet: “Let Food Be Thy Medicine”-Hippocrates. Just eat real food! Eat and Drink mindfully, enjoy the flavors of food and the refreshing taste of cool clean water. Eat a diet full of fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and grass-fed meats. Superfoods like dark cacao chocolate can be enjoyed in moderation. Stay away from sugary processed foods that can live in a box on a shelf for years at a time. If you cannot pronounce the ingredients on the box do not eat it. Hyperactivity and depressed moods can be linked back to our gut and what we are putting in our bodies. Quality of life is important and the way we fuel ourselves affects our health, moods, and well-being.

Fun: Life is not just about work and responsibilities. Make time for fun. Pencil fun in if your planner if you have to force yourself to play. Try a new meet-up, go on a hike, travel, meet a friend for coffee, go dancing, play with your kids,take your spouse to a concert, or join a softball league. Whatever you enjoy in life make time to engage in those activities and experiences. Few people have ever gotten to the end of their life and wished they would have worked more.

Reflection: Taking time at the end of the day to end in thankfulness. Reflect on what went well today and offer gratitude. If you find yourself focusing on what didn’t go so well remind yourself that we are all works in progress, and are constantly learning and growing.