7 simple things you can do to immediately reduce stress
By Heidi Hicks
Some days, I am sure you feel accomplished just to get out of bed in the morning because of the dreaded word…stress. Your job, mortgage, kids, partner, regretting that bowl of ice cream at midnight… I bet you and I could make a list a mile long of all the things that are getting stressing you out right now. But guess what?
Feeling stress is normal. It’s part of everyday life. I’m personally grateful that most of us no longer have to worry or stress about being eaten by a large carnivorous animal, but that’s just me.
While we don’t all have tigers chasing us around, it can certainly feel like that’s the case with as much as we ask of ourselves each day. I’ve found for myself, that having a few stress management techniques on hand for daily (and sometimes hourly) use are vital for my health, overall happiness, and sometimes my functionality as a human being. I know I’m not alone here.
These are just some of my favorites, which I encourage you to give a try the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed…
1. Remember to breathe. When you’re stressed, the body’s natural tendency is to breathe shallowly, or too quickly, which doesn’t do good things for you. Try to breathe calmly and consistently, and draw in deep, satisfying breaths. Dr. Andrew Weil suggests the 4-7-8 breathing relaxation technique and it goes like this:
– Inhale for 4 counts
– Hold your breath for 7 counts
– Exhale slowly for 8 counts
2. Laugh. It truly is the best medicine! And those silly animal videos on Youtube have to be good for something. Your body will always feel better after a good dose of laughter. And if you can, grab a friend, or heck, even a stranger, to laugh with you.
3. Write it out. My personal preference is to do this first thing in the morning (that way you dump all the negativity before you leave the house), but you can do it whenever you need it. Set a timer if you know you’re on a time crunch and just let it all out. Use a computer or a pen and paper. You’ll be amazed how satisfying it is. And you might just work through the thing that’s causing you stress. It’s worked for me many, many times. The best part is there is no right or wrong here either. Free write. Whatever comes to mind. This is for your eyes only, unless you choose to share.
4. Get out in nature. Go for a walk, throw a snowball, let your bare feet touch the grass, etc. Being in nature is such a calming experience. You can breathe in the calm of the breeze, move in tandem with the trees, and fly mentally with the birds.
5. Talk it out. That’s what friends are for and no one should have to carry their burdens alone. Call your best friend, partner, or your ‘Mommy’. I’ve even found that just talking to myself in my car helps a lot. No, I’m not crazy. And neither are you.
6. Take care of yourself. When I’m stressed, I’m the first thing to go. Meaning, I’m the first thing that doesn’t get taken care of, when it should be the exact opposite. Plan daily self-care, love-fests and not only will your stress reduce, you’ll feel loved. Consider a bath, a long walk, reading a book, or going to that party you REALLY want to go to. Do what makes you feel good, from the inside out.
7. Get rid of the problem. Ha! Well, yes this is the simplest of choices. But often it can be the most life changing. If your job is causing stress, is it because you need an assistant or a career change? If your mortgage is the issue, is it because you don’t want to pay that much or because you would really rather be living somewhere else? If your relationship is causing you stress, is it because something needs to change? You get the idea. Taking a closer look at what the real issues are can be scary and exciting all at the same time.
And don’t forget that it will all be ok. Like everything in life, this will fade and be replaced by something else. The best idea is to try your best to be happy and your life will become more about actually living a happy life and less about the stress of living.
Heidi Hicks is a Sassy Holistic Health Coach and BFF for women who are sick of feeling crappy and want to eat great without worrying about the details!
Through her spunky and down-to-earth blog posts, free challenges and life-changing programs, she’s here to remind you that you can feel like Super Woman while keeping it real, inspire you to take action and love yourself the way you deserve and shake up your approach to food — while making it all feel like a decadent indulgence.
When she’s not creating delicious recipes and amazing programs, you can find her rolling on the floor with her toddler, snuggling with her sexy hubby, checking out the newest design shows and reading up on all things healthy.
Are you ready to transform your relationship with food into a love affair with yourself? Connect with Heidi on her website.
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