Stress… It Can Be a Killer or It Can Produce Diamonds
From natural disasters to demanding bosses, our world fills with stressors. Dealing with persistent, long-term stress can actually change your genes. Which can lead to an increase in inflammation that can bring on a variety of health issues. Learning how to cope the right way can go a long way for your everyday health. Here are the best and worst ways to de-stress right now.
Best: Get some fresh air
Vitamin D boost from sunlight may elevate your levels of feel-good serotonin. And, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells around you redirects your focus from your worries.
Best: Rely on Rituals
Whether it’s taking a bath before bed. Whether its listening to your favorite playlist or walking the dog every morning! In times of stress, it helps to turn to a comforting routine. (A consistent routine also helps you sleep). “Our bodies crave routine! Focusing on consistent rituals you increase your body’s ability to deal with stress.
Best: Get out of your head
Do you ever get that never-ending loop of negative thoughts and what-ifs playing in your head? That’s because stress likes to mess with your mind. A fun way to get out of your head is to engage in activities that put the focus on your hands or body. Kneading bread, sketching a picture, knitting a scarf, or climbing a rock wall. As your hands and fingers begin to move it sends a signal to your brain that relaxes you and makes you feel grounded. So immerse yourself in a creative, engaging activity and get ready to press the mute button.
Best: Visualize Calm
Find a quiet space and close your eyes. Focus your breathing, and take yourself to your happy place for a few minutes each day. The most important thing is to find a comforting and calming image (like the ocean).
Best: Take a bath
Water has an innate soothing effect on the mind and body since it connects us back to our time in the womb. Schedule a regular time to soak in the tub. Further your bliss by pairing your bath with candles. Pick a scent that smells best to you. Lavender or jasmine both have stress-reducing properties.
Exercise may be the healthiest stress buster! It revs your body’s production of feel-good endorphins, can help regulate your sleep. It lowers the symptoms associated with mild depression and boosts your energy. It helps you remain calmer and more focused which can go a long way toward stress management. It’s easy to let exercise slide when you’re overwhelmed. But small steps to incorporate it into your day can help. Pick an activity you love and will look forward to! Find a buddy to motivate you, or schedule it into your calendar like any other task. Soon you’ll understand why it’s a critical part of any stress-management plan.
Worst: Drinking, smoking and other vices.
Drowning your stress in a bottle of wine or a pack of cigarettes might bring a release in the moment… But too much only sets you up to stress out more once the high wears off. These habits tend to increase the negative impact stress is already having on your body. It raises your blood pressure and enters you into a vicious cycle. Vicious cycles of feeling more stressed out and then returning to the vice over and over.
The thought of hiding away under the covers sounds pretty great when there’s so much to deal with! But sleeping too much isn’t the answer. The more you sleep, the more tired you actually feel. Increased lethargy is only going to make it that much harder for you to focus.
Worst: Ignore the problem
It’s normal to take a mental time out once in a while to watch a funny movie or meet a friend for lunch, don’t avoid the stress. Avoiding stress won’t allow yourself to process or understand what you’re dealing with. The more you ignore something, the greater its going to get. Your best bet is to make a plan of action that will diminish your problems and release your stress
Worst: Dwell on the negative
If you make a mistake at work, do you assume you’re going to get fired? Have a fight with your spouse and worry the relationship may be over? It’s not uncommon to jump to worst-case scenarios. Dealing with an upsetting issue and overthinking things, only intensifies your stress. When we’re feeling stressed it’s very easy to view ourselves in a negative light. To soften your inner chatter, try to look at things from a different perspective. Talk to yourself as if you were offering advice to your best friend… Odds are you’ll have much more positive things to say.
Worst: Eat your feelings
Like alcohol or drugs, food often becomes a crutch when coping with difficult times. Soothing your pain with comfort foods feels good at first. But this causes your mind and body to begin to associate negative emotions with eating. At the first sign of stress, anger, or sadness you’ll instinctively reach for food. Overeating can cause weight gain and make you feel worse about yourself.