7 Tips to overcome the stress and anxiety of everyday living.
Last week, I attended a class on “How Does Stress Affect Our Body and How Do We Relax” led by E. Karen Shores as part of Brigham Young University’s Education Week , an offering of over 1,000 classes on a variety of topics.
While our bodies have been designed to deal with stressful situations, they are not meant to remain in a constant condition of stress and anxiety. “Fight or flight” was designed to save our life. When a stressful situation is over, the body is meant to return to a calm, peaceful state. Unfortunately, our thoughts about the stressful situation keep the stress present in our body and so we end up repeating it over and over again, continuously raising the level of stress and anxiety we are experiencing. If we can’t learn to relax, we are forever in a state of exhaustion, and that can kill us.
According to Ms. Shores chart, I realized that I have been in a state of stress and anxiety for probably the last 40 years!! I experience most of those traits every day. That is not good. How do I get away from feeling stress and anxiety all the time?
Stop thinking about it.
According to Ms. Shores, every thought produces a chemical reaction in the body. When you repeat that thought (the stressful situation) you cause the same physiological reaction again and again. Stopping the repeated thoughts stops the repetition of stress chemicals from being released.
- Laughing – or just smiling – changes your perception and therefore will change your chemical response.
- Take a deep breath counting to five and then exhale your breath counting to five. Repeat for five minutes. It will make a huge difference. (Since hearing this, every time I start to succumb to stress, I start breathing slowly and it calms me down almost immediately. It has become my new go-to way to fight stress)
- Exercise is a great way to beat stress. Take a walk to clear your head. Lift weights to strengthen your resolve.
- Eat protein, fruits and vegetables. Limit sugar. And drink lots of water.
- Our society has become chronically sleep deprived. Lack of proper sleep is a risk factor for all chronic diseases. We need 7-9 hours of sleep every day. Protect your sleep time.
- Close your eyes and start at the tip of your head and relax your skull. Travel down your body and slowly relax all your muscles until you get to your toes. In yoga, this is referred to as Savasana.
- What is your happy place? Close your eyes and picture every detail for a minimum of 5 minutes.
Stress and anxiety don’t have to be my norm any longer. Practicing these mind changing steps can break the pattern and bring peace to my soul. I am already seeing positive results and plan on continuing to perfect these stress and anxiety exercises for better mental, physical, and spiritual health.