Top 10 easy ways to calm stress.
What I have learned from all my years of training in medicine and nutrition is that learning ways to calm stress is the #1 health habit to practice.
Stress itself is not bad. We need it to get going in our day and take action. It is the excess stress that plays havoc on our mind and body that is so dangerous.
Do you notice you have these moments of heightened stress when your heart rate increases and you feel like you want to jump out of your body?
The mind/body connection tells us that the things we do to support our physical immune system also support our mental health (and visa versa).
I love the analogy of our energy in our body being like a cell phone battery – it drains quicker when we are on overuse! I wanted to share with you my top 10 ways that I calm stress.
Top Ten Easy Ways to Calm Stress
Practice Acts of Kindness
Acts of kindness can help boost happiness while reducing stress. Studies show that people who volunteer are overall healthier and happier than those who don’t. Look for small opportunities throughout the day such as writing a thank you letter to your mail carrier or giving someone a genuine compliment.
Laughter is definitely in my top 10 easy ways to calm stress. It helps relax muscle tension and promotes blood flow to the brain. As we laugh, we also increase air through the lungs which has a cleansing effect similar to deep breathing. A simple way to get in a good laugh is to watch funny movies or video clips. My favorite videos are the talking animals! They give me a laugh every time!
Use breathing exercises
Some simple breathing exercises can make a big difference if you make them part of your regular routine.Our breath is such a powerful tool to calm stress. When stress builds up we tend to hold our breath without realizing it. Box breathing is a technique I use a lot for immediate stress relief.
Pay attention to the present moment
This is a very simple technique that I use all the time. Our body follows our mind. So, when I have anxious thoughts of about the future, my body thinks it is actually happening, and the stress response is engaged. I notice this all the time. It happens automatically (and often first thing in the morning for me). I start to make lists in my head of what I need to do and I feel the stress happening in my body. So what I do is say STOP to myself, and focus on touching something like pen or an item of clothing and bring my thoughts back to the present moment. It works!
Limit your media time
Media overload–be it television, radio, internet, or social networking–is the sixth top cause of stress in the U.S. Our smartphone can deliver all of these–at once! The media stations mainly focus on negative news and the way they deliver it is with passion and high intensity. It is important for me to stay informed but I choose how and when that happens. Choose carefully!
Connect with friends
Help your mind work through all the chatter by talking to a friend. Sharing our concerns and problems with others is a great way to calm stress. A strong support network is a great way to beat stress during a rough time.
Take up a hobby that is fun!
I have recently taken up cooking! I have found that it is not as hard as I thought and I love to create healthy meals that are tasty. My husband is my taste tester and he always gives me his honest opinion.
Keep a gratitude journal
Focusing on what we are grateful for is one of the most powerful ways we can boost what is called our “psychological immune system”. This is a set of emotional processes that help protect our mental health (which is connected to our physical health as well). People who practice gratitude report significantly higher levels of happiness and psychological well-being. By simply listing a few things I am thankful for in my life, I find I can focus on what really matters.
Skip the Junk Food
At times of stress, many of us have comfort foods we use to ease our burdens. These foods tend to be high in sugar, fat and sodium! I have always felt like the food industry knows exactly how to get us hooked. The problem is, these foods put extra stress on our cells. At times of stress. be extra careful to eat whole foods that are rich in vitamins that your cells need.
Go for a walk
An easy ways to calm stress is to go for a moderate-paced walk. This can help reduce muscle tension and decrease anxiety. Try meditating as you walk by repeating a mantra. This has been shown to further promote positive mood and reduced stress.
If you haven’t read my blogs on ways we can stay healthy during this pandemic, please check them out HERE. I have so much to share about balancing the conversation with messages of health.
CLICK HERE for a great article on How to Listen to Your Body Signals
Please note- this is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs.