Stress isn’t necessarily negative. In fact, it can be motivating and act as a natural alarm system. However, when the automatic “fight or flight” response doesn’t switch off in everyday situations or stress becomes chronic, it has a detrimental effect on the mind, body, and spirit. Long-term stress can cause disease or worsen conditions you already have. Controlling stress will enhance your sense of wellbeing, improve your health, allow you to cultivate happiness and contentment, and help you live longer. If you’re feeling stress or anxiety, don’t reach for pharmaceutical interventions just yet. Consider some of these natural ways to remain calm, cool, and collected:
1. Acupuncture: After an acupuncture session you’ll notice that you feel more relaxed. The treatment remedies imbalances, allows qi to flow freely, and regulates stress hormones, such as cortisol. A Huffington Post article cited a study published in the Journal of Endocrinology that discovered stress hormones were lower in rats that had received electro-acupuncture. Find a licensed acupuncturist in your area to discuss your options. Benefits have been reported almost immediately even in acute cases of stress, such as preoperative anxiety.
2. Keep a Journal: When you feel stressed, identify the cause and write it down. You’ll gain insight into your triggers and potentially learn ways to avoid them or alter your thinking when faced with a stressful situation.
3. Prioritize: You are allowed to say “no.” When you have a jam-packed schedule, don’t take on more than you can handle. Prioritize your tasks and responsibilities. If necessary, schedule downtime just as you would schedule a meeting.
4. Stop Tossing and Turning: Getting seven to eight hours of sleep allows you to re-set. While stress can often disrupt your sleep schedule and leave you lying in bed awake at night, there are ways to overcome insomnia. Turn off your television and computer, engage in a relaxing activity about an hour before turning in, go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day, and only use your bedroom for sleep and sex.
5. Ask for Help: A combination of acupuncture and psychotherapy is effective in reducing anxiety and handling stress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, seek professional help or talk to friends and family. A support system can go a long way.
6. Exercise: Whether it’s a vigorous run or a yoga class, any form of exercise will release endorphins, improve your mood, and take your mind off of your worries. Your body will thank you.
7. Meditate: Slow down your racing mind and tap into your inner-peace with daily meditation. Even if it’s for just a few minutes, find a quiet place and practice deep breathing. When thoughts inevitably surface, acknowledge them and then let them go. Try a variety of forms of meditation, such as guided meditation, mindfulness meditation, mantra meditation, and transcendental meditation, until you find the one that works for you. Trouble sitting still? Moving meditation, like qi gong, yoga, and tai chi are effective as well.
How do you de-stress and keep things in perspective?