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Dealing with stress affects most of us from time to time. Many people are living with chronic stress and it has become their new “normal.” I detailed why this is so harmful in another post.
Bottom line: humans were not meant to be in high-stress situations for more than a few minutes at a time. Being in the fight or flight response mode for days or weeks at a time takes a toll on your body that impacts your blood pressure, your heart and your immune system.
The emotional impact is significant as well. Feeling stressed out on a daily basis contributes to feelings of irritability, loss of patience with others, frustration with ourselves and can lead to depression and sleep issues as well.
It’s time to kick stress out of your life.
The problem is that what’s causing your stress probably isn’t going to magically disappear. Which is why you need other tools to take care of yourself. Here are a few simple things that you can do at home, at work, in the car – anywhere that can help.
- Pay attention to your body. It’s trying to tell you to slow down when stress levels peak. Recognize when your heart starts racing, or when you feel the need to escape a situation for what it is. Stress.
- Breathe. Yes, I know you’re doing that already, but I mean breathe with intention. Long, slow deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. In just a minute or two your heart rate will slow and your blood pressure will drop back to your normal zone. Tip: Practice taking 10 deep breaths at the top of every hour if you can. Your body will quickly recognize the signal and quickly respond.
- Meditate. Don’t get caught up in how-to or doing it right. Meditation is a practice of being in the moment and clearing your mind for a few minutes (or longer) at once. If you are new to it, you can grab my Meditation Process for Beginners or google a YouTube video to guide you.
- Get moving. Take a walk, go outside if possible or take a class. If you need an “in the moment solution” at work or a public space, excuse yourself and walk to the ladies/men’s room. When time permits, a long walk around the block will decrease stress and regular movement (walks, yoga, exercise of any type) has been proven to reduce stress and depression. Tip: Results follow just a few minutes of activity. Don’t fall into the trap that it has to be an hour workout at the gym to “count.” If 10 minutes a day is all you can do, that’s going to help.
- Journal. Write freely without editing. Need to vent? Go for it? Feeling sad and want to express yourself? Do that. Ready to acknowledge your blessings? By all means take a few minutes and do it. It’s private and not for anyone else to see so don’t worry about grammar or if you’re writing in complete sentences. The idea is to express what’s on your mind so you can move on and feel at peace.
Ideally, reducing stress from your life is the best long-term solution. When the ideal isn’t possible, use these tips to take charge in the moment and allow your body and your mind a few minutes of peace.
Want help with long-term stress solutions? Join my FREE Take Charge of Stress Webinar.