23 Feb 5-Strategies To Alleviate Stress
The short version
- Even a few minutes of meditation can help you reduce your stress & anxiety levels
- Deep breathing activates relaxation in the body
- Scheduling 7-8 hours of sleep can help normalize your hormone household and stress levels
- Cardiovascular exercise can have a relaxing effect on the body
- Mindfulness reduces anxiety and stress.
What is stress?
Stress is normal. We all experience it. It is a physical response to triggers that upset you, unbalance you or threaten you. It is our body’s response to a perceived threat and puts us into the ‘fight or flight’ mode. It prepares us to protect our life.
In today’s world most of the stressors we experience are not of the ‘flight or fight’ category but rather an angry boss, family member, work, traffic, etc. Our bodies cannot differentiate between those different queues and because of the often chronic stress situations we are stuck in we start feeling the negative side effects of prolonged stress exposure.
What you can do to alleviate stress:
The number one goal is to eliminate stressors. If we can clear the air with our family member or boss we have problems with, change our jobs, leave home a little bit earlier etc, we are making good progress.
Sadly, we do not always have that option. At times we are unable to make immediate changes. In that case the following steps might help you reduce your stress level:
- Meditation, even a few minutes a day can help you with restructuring neuronal pathways and reduce stress and anxiety.
- Deep Breathing activates our parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for relaxation, digestion, etc. Try it out! Breathe deeply in through your nose, filling your belly and lungs with air. Then breathe slowly out. Repeat this 3-6 times and you will feel significantly more relaxed.
- Sleep: Our society is often proud of the fact that we need little sleep. Little do we know. Sleep is necessary to process what we experience and reset our hormone household. Sleep deprivation is definitely not the way to go. Now everyone has different needs and the older population among us often has trouble sleeping. Make sure to schedule sufficient time, reduce light pollution in the evening hours and get rid of the TV in the bedroom.
- Cardiovascular exercise can also stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (after you are done, that is). Try 20-30 min of an easy to moderate walk, jog, etc and see how you feel afterwards.
- Mindfulness – We are often caught up in the future or the past. Exercises like meditation, tai chi, yoga etc, can help us focus on being more mindful and in the present. You can practice that with almost anything that you are doing.
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