In part one of this article we identified what stress is and provided some strategies to counter-balance its impact. Now we look at ways to avoid stress developing and some tools we can use to help us stay calm.
The best way to manage stress is to be pro-active and find ways to bolster yourself up.
If we promote the “feel good” chemicals that naturally occur in our bloodstream it increases our tolerance to stress. These chemicals – endorphins, serotonin and oxytocin – naturally counter-balance the effects of stress and play a role in healing and repair.
Our natural “relaxation response” is a powerful tool and should be used as often as possible. It’s not difficult to make it part of your lifestyle if you include activities that make you feel good and promote those “feel good” hormones. Taking this approach builds our physical resilience so what once might have caused stress levels to skyrocket becomes less irritating and more manageable.
Here’s a few ideas to help built your relaxation response. Create a list of personal preferences and make sure you work them into your daily routine:• Listen to music
• Exercise regularly
• Practice yoga, meditation or Tai Chi
• Go for a walk
• Breathe well
• Learn relaxation techniques
• Take a luxurious bath with candles and essential oils
• Have massage, body or beauty therapies
• Call a friend and spend sometime together
• Eat healthy, delicious food
• Laugh it off – watch a good movie or comedy show
• Take up a course in something that interests you – “feed yourself”
• Sleep more
• Take short breaks more often
• Learn more about stress and your own unique tendencies – maybe even see a counselor
• Learn Mindfulness and become “Mindful”
• Read up-lifting poetry or prose
• Practice gratitude.
“People would consider walking on water or in air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is to walk on the earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the curious eyes of a child – our own two eyes. All is a miracle.” Thich Nhat Hanh, Miracle of Mindfulness
A stress-free conclusion
A great, natural and long-term approach to managing stress is to factor “stress busters” into your lifestyle. Increase you resilience by taking time out, learn relaxation techniques, sleep well, eat healthy whole foods and include enjoyable forms of exercise. Lower your stressors when possible by re-evaluating your priorities and questioning your beliefs – do I really need to do/have/be this??
Recommended reading: Change Your Thinking by Sarah Edelman Phd.