Updated: Jan 16, 2020
Stress may seem like a difficult subject to define, but when broken down stress is simply the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response. Stress is not naturally bad. Stress is our bodies instinctual protector for survival, and acute stress keeps us alert and aware. But chronic stress can lead to physical, mental, and emotional disorders that negatively affect our lives. ⠀
Stress may seem like a difficult subject to define, but when broken down stress is simply the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response.
Where does your stress come from?
Identifying where you stress comes from is the first part to managing it. ⠀ ⠀
Four common causes of stress:⠀ ⠀
¤ Physical - illness, tension ⠀ ⠀
¤ Mental/Emotional- suppressed thoughts and emotions⠀ ⠀
¤ Nutritional - lack of nutrients⠀ ⠀
¤ Spiritual - connection goes self and other ⠀
As discussed earlier stress is not inherently bad, but what matters is how we react and deal with stress. Acute stress is experienced as an immediate perceived threat either physical, mental, or emotional. ⠀ Responded to correctly, acute stress can lead to a greater sense of awareness and productivity.
But if the stress response is not dealt with acute stress can lead to chronic stress and further lead to symptoms such as anxiety, depression, digestive disorders, and skin irritations. Therefore, managing and taking control of our stress is crucial for holistic health.
How to manage stress naturally and holistically.
Unfortunately, we currently live in a high stress environment that does not take enough action towards managing stress and if we do it often times comes from an external medication rather than an internal or lifestyle change. ⠀ ⠀
As previously discussed, stress is caused by and affects us holistically therefore it is necessary to manage it holistically. Managing stress naturally and holistically involves using tools that help balance your mind, body, and lifestyle so that you can set yourself up for success and manage all the obstacles in life that come your way. ⠀
Natural tools to help calm and de-stress the mind:
☞ MINDFULNESS/MEDITATION: To help calm and center the mind on the present instead of worrying about the future or trying to change the past. ⠀
» Try sitting in an upright position, closing your eyes and repeating a mantra such as “be here, be now”. ⠀ ⠀
☞ BREATH-WORK: Is the foundation of relieving stress. In many ancients medical philosophies, breath is our life-force. Current research has shown that mindful breathing can help reduce physical and mental stress and most quickly induce the relaxation response.
» Try breathing in for a count of 4, holding for 4, exhaling for 4, then pausing for 4 and repeat.⠀ ⠀
☞ GRATITUDE: Choosing to be grateful for everything in life including the good and the bad.
» Try starting each day with listing three things you are grateful for.⠀ ⠀
☞ SLEEP: Is essential for recharging the mind and body and cycling through the daily stress of life. ⠀ » Try not looking at a screen 2 hours before bed to help sleep, and if you do turn on the night shift to limit your exposure to blue light at night.
Natural tools to help calm and de-stress the body:⠀
☞ BREATH-WORK: Is the foundation of relieving stress. In many ancients medical philosophies, breath is our life force. Current research has shown that mindful breathing can help reduce physical and mental stress and most quickly induce the relaxation response.
» Try breathing in for a count of 4, holding for 4, exhaling for 4, then pausing for 4 and repeat. ⠀ ⠀
☞ PHYSICAL EXERCISE: Is essential for managing stress and keep the body healthy! ⠀
» Mind-body practices like yoga and qigong are highly recommended to holistically calm the body and strengthen the mind-body connection. ⠀ ⠀
☞ DIET: Is fundamental for reducing stress both physically and mentally. New research shows that the gut-brain connection is bi-directional and directly affects our physical and mental health.⠀
» Try eating more whole foods , unprocessed and unrefined foods, pre an probiotics, mindful eating, organic high quality proteins, detoxifying herbs (turmeric, cinnamon, ginger), eat smaller more frequent meals to help take the load off of adrenals. ⠀ ⠀
☞ LAUGHING/SMILING: Laughing and smiling are the fastest remedy to reducing sadness!
» Try thinking of things that make you smile through the day to help de stress and increase feelings of happiness. ⠀
Our lifestyle is the synthesis of our thoughts and actions and determines our health and outlook on life. Here are tools to help you build healthier lifestyle and reduce daily stress:
☞ SIMPLIFY: Our consumer society makes us believe that happiness is found is material goods and financial success. However, this personal greed can lead stress and anxiety and can become overwhelming.⠀
» Try going though your house and clothes and asking yourself, what do you I really need?⠀ ⠀
☞ UNPLUGGING: Technology has grown exponentially in the recent years and has allowed us to access infinite information. However, social media and other apps have also taken over our daily lives and are retracting us from the present moment reality. ⠀
» Try unplugging from your phone or laptop once a week and keep your phone when you sleep and wake up away from your bed so you can limit your screen time and focus on what’s happening around you. ⠀ ⠀
☞ SPEND TIME IN NATURE: Most of us spend our time inside under fluorescent lights and air conditioning spending little to no time in nature and soaking in the sun. It has been shown that spending a few minutes outside in nature or sitting in the sun can help reduce stress and increase feelings of happiness.⠀
» Try starting your morning by grounding barefoot into the earth and soaking in the sun rays. 🌞 ⠀ ⠀
☞ LISTEN TO MUSIC/DANCE: Current research illustrates that listening to music or dancing has a powerful affect on our emotions. Listening to music can help you feel the emotions you may be surpressing, ⠀
» Try being in a safe space alone and blare your favorite music really loud and dance like no one is watching!
Finally, it is most important to acknowledge and accept our stress. Stress is a part of life and can be used in a beneficial way to increase our self-awareness. However, if stress is suppressed, it can lead to physical, mental, and emotional disorders that can negatively impact our daily lives.⠀ ⠀
My favorite mantra when I’m experiencing stress is to welcome it, accept it, and release it.⠀ ⠀ Welcoming it allows the body to fully experience the stress and process why it’s happening. Accepting it allows the stress to become conscious allowing it to then be released.⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀