10 Ways to Reduce Stress
People ignore this until it’s caused so much damage it eventually leads to death. Many of us are over-worked and over our heads, seldom saving time to undo all that damage.
It’s called stress. It is the wrecking ball of life and breaks down happiness and smashes your health.
According to the American Institute of Stress, 75 to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are related to stress. It is a primary risk factor for heart attacks, stroke, sudden death, high blood pressure, thick and unhealthy blood, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. It promotes the deposition of deep abdominal fat, and the development of weight gain, insulin resistance and diabetes.
If you want to keep and build happiness and health, reducing and managing stress is a must. But how do we put this into practice? How do we not just read about reducing stress and talking about being stressed, to actually doing something about it?
Your life is worth starting today and not procrastinating any longer.
We can't just wait til we aren't so busy anymore, or wait til this crazy season is over, or we'll never deal with it. The truth is, we will always have obstacles, challenges, and problems to overcome. There will always be busy seasons, and maybe even chaos because it is all part of life. Life and time will never be put on hold for us, so it's a matter of learning to take practical steps in the midst of where we are now.
Within our studio we see plenty of busy professionals, juggling mom's trying to keep up with kids, physicians, and professional athletes. They are the smart ones that have realized that to be able to do what they do, they need to take care of their health, and that getting regular massages help keep their sanity.
But massages aren't the only things we can do to manage stress. Check our list below and see what you can implement for your own stress management to not only keep your sanity, but build a happier and healthier life, too.
10 Ways you can begin reducing stress today.
Create space in your mind and in your life to think clearly and creativily. Filling your mind and calendar up to the brim leaves no room for freedom or thinking clearly. A friend once told me, “Every week I just schedule ‘nothing’ in my calender and make myself do exactly that; nothing.’ Give yourself permission to do nothing.... it's ok. Check out the Headspace app, or if into gadgets, get the Spire Mindfulness Tracker.
2. Get Massages
The benefits are endless. Not only does this force you to make time for yourself, but it also renews you physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s not a luxury to get pampered, but endless medical reasons why and how it benefits you. One study found that a single session of Swedish massage increased adult's levels of white blood cells. Stress decreases lymphocytes, white blood cells that help fight off infections like the flu. Make relaxing activities a regular part of your life.
3. Relaxation Activities
Balance your mind and body with yoga, increase circulation, focus on your breathing, and feel all the stress melt from you and off your mat. Keep this as a healthy habit, and you’ll be amazed at your stress management skills!
Other relaxation activities include:
- Float Pool
- Salt Caves
- Hot Yoga
- Nature Walks
- Steam Rooms
- Hot Saunas
4. Laugh More
Happy and optimistic people tend to be healthier and live longer according to Dr. Stephen Sinatra of the HeartMD Institute. When was the last time you had a good laugh? Invite friends over for games, go to a comedy, or pursue a fun hobby. Research has shown that humor can improve memory, lower levels of stress hormones, boost mood, and protect against the damaging effects of stress.
5. Surround Yourself in a Positive Community
Relationships and environments can be toxic. Do your best to surround yourself with optimistic and positive people. Speak life into others, and invite life that positive people may speak into you, it’s empowering! God made us to be connected and in community.
6. Become Smarter with Your Money
Make it simple and live below your means so you don’t get caught up in the rat race of working to keep your head above water. We live in a consumer age, where the mindset is to buy now and pay later and that only sets us up for the stress that’s not as easy to deal with. Proud to say that my husband and I immediately took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University and learned how to tell every single one of our dollars where to go instead of wondering where they all went. We paid off all of our college loans, credit cards, and cars with the diligence of it and still meet every month to discuss each month. Because of this, we plan for gifts, emergencies, and vacations to pay in advance for no stress.
7. Eat Clean Foods and Use Nutrition Supplements
You are what you absorb. Nutrition goes beyond what makes us skinny and sexy, but what makes us thrive. There are foods that can disrupt our system. Sugar and yeast being the main culprits to stress and disease. Meeting with almost any Functional Medicine Doctor or Naturopath Doctor, they’ll suggest or prescribe either a paleo diet or something very similar, and using supplements to make up for what foods don’t supply enough of. Read more on How Food and Nutrition Transform Your Body here.
8. Take Some Time Off
Look into scheduling regular time off. Find a something close to home that you can make the drive for a weekend getaway. Having something on the schedule for a little R & R gives you something to look forward to! We all need that time to renew our minds and bodies to balance stressful lives. It's one concept to learn to nourish our mind and body, but taking time off nourishes our soul.
9. Regular Exercise
Get out and move! Discover what you love to do as exercise and get out and do it. My personal favorites is weight lifting, yoga, and spin class. We get so busy, we push out the most important things (like exercise and good sleep) to get more things done. Sounds like a good idea to take care of yourself last, but in the end, it only damages you.
10. TALK TO SOMEONE
It's no secret to anyone who knows me personally or professionally, is that I am a huge advocate to get coaching, mentoring, and counseling. We simply can't see or become our greatest self without it. When confronted with an issue, I have a list of trusted wise counsel I immediately call and schedule with because I know it's not something I am supposed to manage alone. So whether it's seeing a therapist, a life coach, health coach, doctor, counselor, etc. You are doing it for the sake of your health and happiness, even if it's taking steps to manage stress.
What to Do Next
So if you are wanting to take some steps with managing your stress and live a happier life, put a few of these methods into practice or talk to your doctor. Sometimes it is easier to read about it, talk about how stressed you are, and even say to yourself, "I'm stressed and I need to start meditating and getting back into the gym," but sometimes we still need a little coaching and accountability.
It's not easy to take that first step sometimes.
While stress is a big killer of health and happiness, you can make small steps each day to reduce and manage it. Your future self will thank you for it! Instead of waiting til things slow down, your physical and mental health needs it today.
Do you have ways your prefer to manage and reduce stress? Or maybe want to start doing? Please share below!