“Having it all” is a myth promoted by Hollywood and the media that very few people may actually attain, but we all seem to have plenty of stress in our everyday lives trying to achieve it as we deal with things like our jobs, family drama, traffic and to-do lists that seemingly never end, not to mention the fact that the delightful piece of technology known as the cell phone means we are almost never unreachable.
As we try to find balance in our hectic lives, it’s important to keep stress to a minimum because of its harmful effects on our bodies and minds. Contributing to a list of ailments such as muscle tension, headaches, a weakened immune system, insomnia, digestion issues and even asthma and heart disease, stress can quickly take a toll on your health if you let it. However, with a few small changes, you can keep your stress levels in check while altering the way you physically respond to stressful events.
How to keep the stress of the modern world at bay
Meditate to ease stress
Meditation has gained quite a following in recent years, and for good reason: it can make a big difference in your overall mental well-being when practiced regularly, decreasing the effects of depression, cognitive disorganization and emotional irritability. It has even been shown to increase your level of productivity and minimize feelings of loneliness. Just remember to be patient with yourself on the journey and choose to practice in a quiet space that will usher in feelings of calm relaxation. And most of all, don’t make finding time to meditate another reason to stress!
Because you can practice deep breathing wherever you happen to be, it can be a lifesaver when chaos seems to be taking over (waiting in long lines, dealing with someone rude, traffic jams, etc). Similar to meditation, deep breathing can reduce stress and decrease anxiety almost instantly, so close your eyes and count to 10 if you need help focusing on your breath, but make sure you get your mind and body back on track with this simple exercise. Some therapists even recommend deliberately holding your breath for 5 to 10 seconds before allowing the air to exhale in a deep sigh. It is amazing how effective that is to ease stress.
Stretch with Yoga
With yoga, you can reap many similar benefits of meditation and deep breathing while bringing relief to your entire body. It helps release some of the tension your muscles have been holding onto which can lead to discomforts such as pain, pinched nerves and muscle spasms. As yoga can also help with weight loss while improving the cardiovascular system and boosting circulation, this balancing form of exercise is a no-brainer when you need to recharge.
Whether you want to relax, feel energized or simply ease stress, there is a scent that can enhance any mood. Fragrance can trigger memories locked deep inside of your brain through its olfactory processing center. Although everyone has personal preferences when it comes to smells, some relaxing scents to relieve stress include lavender and eucalyptus.
Due to the bombardment we experience every day through the media and online in the form of photoshopped beauty ads, perfect poses on Instagram, celebrity endorsements and new collections and sales to shop, it can be difficult to appreciate what we have and instead encourages us to constantly want more of everything. Being thankful for what we do have can help us all be more compassionate and have a positive outlook, helping improve our immune systems in the process. Regularly make a list of things in your life that you are grateful for or make you happy and you’ll be on your way to a less-stressed you.