“Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet.”
~ Bob Marley
How to Keep Stress in Check
We can all acknowledge that some level of stress in life is actually good. After all, we wouldn’t achieve much if we didn’t experience some form of stress and pressure, driving us to achieve and experience life. Even getting out of bed in the morning is a beneficial stress response.
When left unchecked and unmonitored, stress can be anything but helpful. It comes in many forms: physical, environmental and emotional. It’s when these forms of stress build up that its affects on health and longevity are detrimental. One analogy I find helpful is to think about stress and its affects over time, like a wheel barrel of accumulating bricks. In the beginning we push the wheel barrel pretty easily. There’s a few bricks, but nothing we can’t handle. In fact, it goes unnoticed. As time passes and we start to add more bricks, what was once easy, starts to be felt. The wheel barrel of life begins to get more difficult.
There isn’t always a way to remove yourself from the realities of being human and experiencing life’s ups and downs, but there are daily self care routines and habits that will improve your life experience, increase happiness and help you manage life’s daily stresses.
This isn’t about adding more pressure into your life, but about choosing strategies for coping that resonate with you and are realistic. Here are over 20 Ways to Keep Your Stress and Anxiety in Check
1. Eat healthy whole foods: Let’s get real. Choosing the right food impacts your body and health. Focusing in on adding these foods to your diet is going to nourish your brain and help you manage physical stressors in a big way.
- Eat magnesium-rich foods – stress can leach your muscles of magnesium. Dark green leafy vegetables are full of Magnesium. Eating leaves not your thing? Try pumpkin seeds, black beans, or scallops.
- Get your B-vitamins – load up on whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, rye, oats, and those dark green veggies we were just talking about.
- Fat is your friend.Make peace with fat. Plant-based fats are your best bet for decreasing inflammation, increasing your mood and stabilizing blood sugar. Think whole foods like: coconuts, nuts and seeds, hemp hearts, lecithin granules, olives and avocado
2. Use a variety of deep breathing techniques. Focusing on the breath can help your mind become more mindful and eventually calmer.
3. Get a massage, or give one – we are social animals who need that physical contact.
4. Listen to positive and soothing music that you enjoy. Try Alpha music, vibrational music or classical.
5. Laugh – force yourself if you have to. Laughing reduces the stress hormone cortisol and increases your blood flow. Treat yourself to a daily full deep belly laugh.
6. Smile and serve others. How many times to you give a smile without truly feeling it?Smile deeply and do it from within – make your eyes sparkle. You’ll feel good and you’re going to make someone else feel special in the process.
7. Get your butt moving. Go for a walk, do some yoga, or have a swim – anything to get you moving. Exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make us feel good.
8. Notice how much energy and excitement exists within a child. They still have a sense of wonder for the world. Where is your wonderment for all the beauty in your life? Do something child-like – swing, skip, reconnect with the things you love.
9. Avoid stimulants. Having a cup of coffee is up there with dark chocolate and a glass of wine; I feel like I’m spoiling myself. I think in moderation these “treats” can help reduce stress. There’s a catch. Over indulging in these fine things is inflammatory, addictive and wrecking havoc on the nervous system and adrenal glands. Avoiding or reducing stimulants like caffeine, sugar, and alcohol will aid in reducing the harmful aspects of stress.
10. Sleep. Sleep is the only time our growth hormone is produced.
11. Look into a melatonin supplement – it’s a very powerful antioxidant that can help you get a better sleep as well.
12. Talk it out. Often we just need to get things off of our minds. Talking about stresses can often put things into perspective. Getting what’s on your mind, out of your mind, can help with the speedy internal dialogue that keeps so many of us in a state of anxiety and contributes to a sleepless night.
13. Make a list. When it seems like there are a million things racing around in your head, it can feel out of control and overwhelming. Write it down and see if it becomes more manageable.
14. Un-complicate your life and de-clutter. There is an art to living more simple. Dedicate small pockets of time to riding your environment of unnecessary “stuff”. Giving away what you don’t actually need is a freeing exercise.
15. Let go of comparing. In a time when our life is about accumulating more and getting the latest item on the market, do your best to ask yourself if this item will really bring more to your life. Is having more going to provide life time happiness or a moment’s rush?
16. Reconnect with friends. Spend your time with the people you love.
17. Spending time with animals is very relaxing. Pets provide comfort and unconditional love.
18. Be good to others. Small acts of kindness go a very long way.
19. Show gratitude. Be aware of the good things in your life.
20. Remember that you are in control. When you change your perception, your reality changes with it.