Stress can be everywhere.
I used to spend so much time, energy, and effort avoiding stress. This attempt at complete avoidance of stress stressed me out!
Luckily I learned that there can be better – and healthier – methods to use. If we reinterpret our perception of stress things magically improve…and our stress levels decrease.
Here are 8 methods that I’ve found helpful.
- Slow down – take a few seconds to a minute or two to ask yourself “where are you?” and “what time is it?” (got this from my high school Freshman English teacher -answers at the end.)
- Breathe – focus on matching your breathing to your activity. If you’re lifting a heavy weight then breathe in strong and hold it then exhale forcefully. If you’re getting ready for bed and/or want to calm down then breathe in deeply through your nose for 5 seconds, hold that comfortably for 5 seconds, then slowly and calmly exhale for another 5 seconds. Repeat this sequence as many times as needed.
- Exercise – this can be as simple as taking a walk around the block to as ambitious as training for a triathlon or Crossfit games competition. Find your comfort level then continue to improve from there.
- Eat good foods – bonus points if you can prepare these great foods yourself. As often as possible find organic , locally grown produce and proteins. Avoid processed, man-made, artificially flavored pseudo-foods. If your great-grandparents couldn’t recognize it you probably shouldn’t eat it.
- Learn and do – these have been really helpful for me personally (and usually the most challenging). We can always improve our situations by educating ourselves and learning something new – even if that something is more insight into how we react to whatever situation is stressing us out. And then we must act. Take your knowledge, information, and insight and move closer towards your goal.
- Have fun and laugh – pretty tough to feel sad or down while you’re laughing. Smile at yourself in the mirror for 30 seconds each morning. I know it’s silly but it also is effective without no side-effects. Also there’s this new website called Youtube. Search for something funny like this. Enjoy 🙂
- Focus on the good – let’s get a little philosophical for a minute…most that happens in life is never really good or bad. We usually choose the meaning we give to these good or bad events. The amazing realization is that we have control over this choice. Some events are more challenging to find the good but I promise it’s there somewhere. Choosing to find the good coincidentally helps surround us with more positive experiences.
- Pray and/or meditate – these can be as simple as performing a focused breathing in a quiet place (like the beach or a church) while focusing on all that you are appreciative for in your life. Being appreciative and practicing gratitude will take up all your focus and those stressful, nagging thoughts simply do not have a place to exist.
There are many more habits and ways to practice living a healthy life with properly managed stress levels. Think about using the above 8 suggestions as a starting point.
You can play around with all 8. You can pick 1 to practice for a few weeks and then move to another.
However you choose to get started have fun with it and enjoy the process.
~With Strength & Nutrition
ps. Here. Now (Thanks Mrs. Arnn!)