“Stress: 1. a force that strains or deforms 2. mental or physical tension“ Websters New World Dictionary
Despite our best intentions for creating a lifestyle free of stress, we have only succeeded in creating more stress than our mind and bodies can really handle. The good news is there are practical ways to reduce stress in your life without having to spend a whole lot of money. It is important to note that there are both environmental and emotional factors that create stress in your home, workplace and outdoors in a city. You might feel the stress of a difficult job, or the emotional strain of a negative relationship, but toxic chemicals in your cleaning supplies or exposure to electro-magnetic frequency’s from your computer and T.V. may not be so easy to detect. They can, however, cause stress to your immune system and eventually will need to be removed or reduced.
For now let’s take a look at some ideas for dealing with stress on a daily basis. By taking one-step-at-a-time you can at least begin to manage the stress that comes from living in a time that demands our complete attention and much of our precious energy. The goal here is to open up space in your day to recharge and reinvigorate your body-mind for the next go-round of activity.
1. Medical research has shown that lack of sleep can stress the body more than anything else you do. Make sure to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night for best effect.
2. To make sure your body can sleep at night, reduce the amount of stimulating foods, such as sugar, caffeine and alcohol, that you ingest each day. For some people even one cup of java can cause insomnia. Stay away from your computer or smart phone before bedtime as it can interfere with your ability to sleep.
3. Take time each day to stop and do nothing. You can do this at your desk with a few stretches and then sitting, lean your head back on the chair and close your eyes for 2-3 minutes. Or, lay down on the sofa or bed and take a 5-10 minute nap. This is a very easy and effective way to refresh and revive the whole body system.
5. Take a 15-30 minute walk outside in nature and focus on your breathing. Stand and take deep breaths of fresh air and long exhales to expel the stale indoor air from your lungs.
6. Take 10 minutes each day to sit in meditation. This can be done anywhere you find yourself. Sit with your back upright, hands resting on your thighs, close your eyes and let your mind quiet and empty. Bring your attention to your breath and let the thoughts pass like clouds moving across a blue sky. This can be a powerful moment for your body-mind to relax and rejuvenate.
7. Plan 1-2 days a week when you will not turn on the computer or watch television. Use the time to hike in nature, read a good book, volunteer to help a friend, clean out your kitchen cabinets and cook yourself a healthy meal.
8. Go on a spending diet and stay away from shopping malls and other crowded venues. Instead, take time to be silent and alone with yourself. This is a wonderful time to think about your life, to set goals, to plan and notice what is and what is not working. This awareness allows you to make changes before situations can get out of hand.
9. Put aside 10-15 dollars a week and indulge your senses with a monthly body massage. This can go a long way towards releasing stress, worry and anxiety in a short period of time.
10. Take a restorative yoga class at your local yoga studio. This special form of yoga utilizes nurturing physical postures to relax, rejuvenate and alleviate the effects of chronic stress in your daily life. Once you know the routine you can practice at home in your personal space.
11. Light some candles in your bathroom, put on some soft music and take a warm bath. Add some muscle relaxing bath salts and a few drops of Lavender oil to calm and relax your mind.
12. As all your worries and fears rise up to engulf you, just remember what is happening in the given moment. Anxiety comes from creating a negative future in your mind, one that has not happened and will probably not happen. It is all a product of your imagination and if you can stay focused on what is happening in the present you can reduce the stress this way of thinking can cause.