Are you already shaping up for the New Year? Sounds about right, January first is only a few days away, and who can claim to be prepared? Anyone? Right again. With the holiday frenzy right upon us, everybody seems to be busy in gathering presents, or eating healthy to fit into that old gown, or trying to lose those last extra pounds that we will gain right back in a month or two. However, has anybody ever considered they should try to get rid of stress instead of focusing on the external things?
While it is a great thing to keep yourself healthy and fit physically, and live your life to the fullest, most of us never pay attention to the stuff that’s piled up inside. Our fast-paced lives leave us almost no time to pay attention to our stress levels, and keep us from living to the best of our potential.
Chronic stress can be found everywhere you look, and if you make a living and work on Earth, it’s almost impossible for you to never experience it. If you have been suffering from stress, maybe the best resolution for this year is to let go of all the worries and get rid of the stress that you have accumulated this year. That would be the right way to truly cherish and celebrate the holidays!
There are hundreds of very simple habits that you can adopt, and things you can do to deal with then release all the stress in your body and mind. Here is a list of things that can help you find the ‘happy place’ you’ve been looking for.
There is no mystery to it anymore; meditation can help you actualize your current condition and then move forward. It’s a way of being conscious of your being, and trying to find the inner core of who you are. If you are not one to do-it-yourself, you can opt for a short guided meditation to get you in to form.
The practice has been around for centuries and modern science agrees with its benefits. Meditation can actually help you find what’s causing the stress you are trying to get rid of, and then deal with the issues from the root up. At the end of the day, a healthy mindset free of stress means a healthier and happier life.
People have experienced stress from the beginning of times, and to imagine the kind of life-threatening situations the early humans might have gotten themselves into because of it is a bit scary. When you are stressed, your body starts to produce large amounts of cortisol, adrenaline, and stress hormones. Your blood pressure increases, the heartbeat quickens, your pupils dilate, and you can even start to breathe rapidly. The body naturally prepares itself to battle, but while this response is effective when you are in danger, it might be very harmful for your daily life.
Believe it or not, the little problems you face at work, the chores you do at home, and even something as irrelevant as traffic can trigger the same kinds of responses from the body. So what must one do?
I’ll tell you.
There are many ways to counter stress, but the best way is to simply start trying to relax. Daily relaxation exercises can make a major difference and your body’s responses can then be changed. Like this one:
Sometimes all you need is a few seconds to feel better. So try sitting down in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Start concentrating on your breath and let your muscles relax, then breath in, count to 10 and breath out. Keep doing this exercise for a few seconds and you will feel your mind clearing up. Reason? Your stress levels might have just dropped a bit.
Don’t Take No Pressure
While it can be healthy to experience some minor ups and downs and feel pressure every now and then, chronic stress is another matter entirely. All those office demands and relationship obstacles will remain, but your mental state may not.
Excess of cortisol in your blood can cause your body to neglect the immunity system or digestion. If the cortisol levels of your remain elevated for longer periods of time, your health can suffer huge consequences. A lot of stress eventually leads to painful situations like cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, weak immunity to infection, and in worse cases, infertility.
So forget about that comment someone made that’s been bothering you for a week, stop overworking your mind and body and stop believing that chronic stress won’t catch up to you. People tend to make irrational decisions when they are stressed, and their body goes through hormonal imbalances quite often. The only right way to live your life is stress-free.
Treat External Causes & Internal Causes Equally
Stress is caused by your body’s responses to certain external or internal situations, and while some of these situations can be dealt with, others may not. However, try looking at it this way; your thoughts and attitude could actually be the real reason behind your elevated stress levels.
This means that dealing with any tension and stress begins from within you. You may never be able to control every externa situation, but you can train yourself to adopt a better attitude. Once you start to see the difference you’ll be surprised, but a change of attitude helps thee tension and stress in your body almost disappear, no matter how bad your external situations get.
Let us take two very different people as an example, where both have very contrasting mental attitudes. Now put them in exactly the same situation. Once you observe their behavior, you will be able to actually see the behavioral patterns that these two individuals follow. One of the individuals might be more prone to stress, feel more exhausted and have a lot of negative thoughts, while the other may be completely relaxed, calm and composed, and at the same time, energetic.
This is how much of a difference a positive attitude can make, which means that you have to train yourself to accept only as much negativity as you want. It’s all in your mind, my friend.
Listen to Your Body
Pay close attention to your muscles and your body, do they feel tense and contracted? Well, that means you have to release the tension and get rid of stress your body is holding on to. The easiest way to detect stress is by paying special attention to the scalp and your face. It is very important to target these areas and try to release the muscle tension. Remember that we have been accustomed to a way of living that makes us susceptible to stress, which means that it can become more of a habit than anything else. So consciously realize that your scalp and facial muscles are stressed and keep releasing the tension till it’s completely gone.
When you are feeling tensed, you can simply stand in an erect posture, with your back completely straight along with your head. Start taking in slow breaths and try focusing your mind on different areas of your body that feel the most tensed. Slowly, start releasing all that built up tension by taking deep breathing. The inhaling and exhaling will help your mind concentrate.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Most of the time, we don’t really know how the food we eat is processed and what effects it may have on our bodies. Coffee drinkers often assume the bet drink of the day is that first cuppa coffee in the morning, but what they don’t realize is that coffee on an empty stomach can end up doing more harm than any good. The caffeine can trigger the release of stomach acids and hormones that will cause indigestion that may ruin your entire day. So be careful with your portions, and never let coffee be the first thing to have to on an empty stomach. So even if you indulge every now and then, don’t turn it into a habit. Besides coffee there are also herbs such as Tongkat Ali that can relieve stress.
You can also try ditching the cold water and settle for warm water instead, which will help your body maintain good hormonal balance. As for the foods, try eating things that are natural rather than sticking to the fast-food-lifestyle.
Your body is like a temple, and it’s your job to treat it right.
With the hype of the New Year, I am sure you have already given getting fit some thought. Now it’s time to put it into action. There are many activities that can help you get the daily exercise you need, and some of them might even be fun. So here is a list of exercises you can try:
You are not alone in feeling like the entire world’s weight is on your shoulders. Tons of your friends are probably feeling the same anxiety, so why don’t you get yourself and your pal to the tennis court the next time you feel like you’ve got jittery nerves? Tennis is a very good way to bow off the steam since the activity is aerobic; it helps in managing the stress hormones while releasing all the feel-good endorphins you so desperately need. The only way that tennis ca get stressful is during a competition, and that kind of stress will actually train you to deal with challenging situations more effectively.
Getting done with multiple tasks in a short span of time may be a benefit if you live a fast-paced life, but it can also become the source of your anxiety. And when you are already managing so much work in such little time, adding an hour for your workout routine might seem like a laughable idea, but it isn’t. What we all need to understand is that we don’t have to run 10 miles each day.
Interval training can be very useful when you are trying to reduce stress because they allow you to work out at a very high intensity for shorter time periods throughout the day. This means that it becomes easier to manage the munt of time you are spending on your work outs. A few squats before lunch right near your office desk is the kind of training you are looking for.
Interval training has many other benefits as well, since while it keeps your body regulated and active, it can help you deal with your anger and anxiety at the same time. It’s like you’re blowing out some steam almost 4 times a day. This type of training applies to all kinds of physical activity. Ideally, 15 to 20 minutes of training twice to thrice a day can do wonders for both your mental and physical health.
Yoga has won itself the reputation of a women-only activity, which is an absurd idea. You take one look into any Yoga studio and you’ll see how grossly outnumbered men are when it comes to Yoga. This form exercise is one of the most effective when it comes to strengthening your muscles, and releasing anxiety. Yoga helps improve flexibility, prevents you from going through severe injuries, while building more muscle mass and targeting all the accumulated fat.
Yoga makes use of multiple relaxation exercises and techniques that can help you achieve that calm you want to experience in your everyday life. Feeling Zen everyday helps you look at life from a fresh perspective, and keep you from getting tense about the little obstacles we face every day.
Because our minds are so occupied that we forget to think clearly even for a few minutes every day, we miss out on the real things in life. Yoga experts suggest that practicing a few poses everyday can help you gain the focus you feel is lacking. By keeping your attention on the bigger picture, this exercise can really help you enjoy a life full of happiness and secure from stress.
While there are many exercises that are very useful against stress, you can choose any activity that concentrates on the main root of the problem. For people who get aggressive due to stressing, boxing can be a great way to get rid of all that built up negative energy inside. Boxing is a combative sport and it helps you get into the zone, with each punch you throw, you will be able to work out your negative feelings more effectively. Admittedly, boxing is much better than a ranting match with your workplace colleagues or friends.
You can include some form of mental workout to enhance the effects of this exercise as well, making sure that you don’t stop until your stress has completely vanished.
Managing Stressful Situations
While managing stress through exercise and healthy habits is the start, it’s very important to gain more control over the stressful situations that arise in your life every now and then. The fact may surprise you but biological stress is a relatively recent discovery. This means that we haven’t had the proper time to research and come up with fool-proof solutions just yet. However, scientific research suggests that there are many ways that can help us get rid of stress and maintain a healthy outlook on life.
Here are a few quick stress-busters you’ll want to try:
Music Can Heal
If there is any situation that may be upsetting you, taking a small break to listen to some tunes might be a great idea. Listening to calm music has a very soothing and positive effect on your mind and body; it can also reduce the cortisol levels, lower your blood pressure and help deal with the stress hormones.
Try listening to something that clams your nerves and diverts your attention, and always keep your headphones nearby!
Talk to a Friend
When your life becomes too stressful to handle, maybe it’s time to blow off some of that steam. Take a break and catch up with an old pal or call your closest friend to discuss your problems. To maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is important to maintain your relationships and interact with friends and loved ones, and they’re even more helpful when you are dealing with any crisis. All you need is a reassuring voice to put everything into perspective.
Talk Yourself through Your Troubles
Internalizing everything you are going through can also help you reduce the amount of stress you are feeling. Maybe calling a friend is a not an option, and when such occasions arise, it is important to be your own friend. Don’t think too much about being crazy enough to talk to yourself, just be your own support and realize that everything will be alright.
Laugh it off!
Simply laughing can help you release all those hormones related to happiness and improve your mood. Laughing helps reduce the adrenaline, and the stress-causing hormonal imbalances. You can trick your brain to feel calm, relaxed and joyful by laughing and you can even use your favorite comedy movie for some assistance.
Have Lots of Tea
When you take large doses of caffeine, your blood-pressure spikes for a short duration which can have counterproductive results. Instead, try having green tea and watch your mood improve. Stay away from coffee or energy drinks since they interfere with your digestion. Green tea offers you the healthy antioxidants and theanine, which can help calm your jittered nerves.
Stay Mindful of Your Thoughts
While the tips given above might give you instant relief, there are lifestyle changes which can be better effective for the long run. As mentioned earlier, try remaining completely conscious and aware of your surrounding situations, pay more attention to your current state and manage your thoughts. Mindfulness is both a mental and physical exercise which can help you deal with any issues you may be facing without getting carried away with emotions. If you find it hard to practice, try joining a class for guided mindful meditation or find a video on YouTube.
Don’t Take Things So Personally
Make sure you understand what is creating the stress you are dealing with and what other people do can often have a huge effect on our stress levels. It is very important to remember that you are only responsible for yourself, and if something wrong is being done to you, patience and strength is the best way to deal with it.
Don’t Have Huge Expectations
We live and work in a very social world and if you tie your expectations to other people’s actions, you will more or less always end up getting disappointed. Remember that it is all a conscious decision where you chose to be disappointed by expecting and what other crime cold even compare? When you have evidence to suggest that what you are expecting is highly unlikely to happen, you are setting yourself up for defeat.
Talk About Your Needs
Taking the decision to take responsibility for your needs is a something that’s very liberating. When you fail to make this crucial decision, other people might be left guessing what it is that you are looking for while you suffer in silence. Make your needs known by communicating what you want and talk it out with people you need to. Even if you think what you want is unreasonable, just go ahead, take the leap and ask. Communicating your needs is very important, and it helps you realize who you really are and what you want with your life.
Stop Making Assumptions
We often live with our imaginary assumptions about what others may be thinking or feeling. It is your responsibility to manage your assumptions before they ripen into core beliefs. Make sure you’ve controlled them when you are about to take any action on something that hasn’t been verified. Everyone already knows there’s no use crying over spilt milk, so spot whatever assumptions you’ve made before you build them up.
Face Your True Feelings
The most amusing workplace mantra I’ve found is “Check your emotions at the door”, but the real problems arises when people become so accustomed to ignoring their own emotions that it becomes a habit. Bottled up feelings can become like a ticking bomb and you can almost ensure that it’s going to blow. Try to find an outlet for expression, form important opinions, follow a mystery and learn how you truly feel about the state of this world.
Conclusively, we are about to set foot into the next year with hopes up high, and we have to make sure that we are not leaving the most important part of us behind. 2016 has been a rough year for many, and the world has truly changed very rapidly. Along with the holiday preparations, and all the New Year celebrations, give yourself the time you need as you try to reduce and even diminish the stress you have been dealing with. While it is important to not miss these special moments, it isn’t worth it if you leave your happiness behind. So let’s step into the next year with an open heart, with our minds set on personal growth and happiness. Time to have some really Happy Holidays!
About The Author: Racheal Louise, is a lover of all things natural, her passion in herbal and natural prevention paved the way to sharing her knowledge with others, many have benefited both men and women.