Every day we have numerous opportunities to be overwhelmed with stress, whether it’s the major traffic jam during our commute, or the annoying neighbor upstairs who prefers to stomp their way through the apartment all night long. For most of us, small stressors are easily handled and overlooked. However, when we are exposed to numerous small stressors that are not dealt with over a long period of time without relief, our physical, mental and emotional health begins to suffer.
What are some of the things that happen within our bodies when we’re stressed? To begin with, we can count on an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, increased blood pressure, feelings of anxiety, tight muscles, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, and so on.
Medical research has already determined that over 80% of illnesses are caused by or made worse by stress alone! Think about the enormity of that fact.
So what are some of the things that we can do to keep our stress levels in check? Here are some of my favorite strategies:
- Slow down! Take a few moments every day to breathe mindfully, appreciate the beauty of the moment and where you happen to be in the whole scheme of your life.
- Be thankful for all that you have. Gratitude opens your heart and allows energy to flow within your body. With it, comes more relaxed breathing patterns, and a tendency to focus on what’s good in your life, rather than what isn’t.
- Exercise – moving your body and sweating allows for better circulation, releases toxins, and can help provide a safe outlet for suppressed aggression.
- Cultivate a spiritual life – it doesn’t matter whether you are religious or not. Spirituality is the development of your spirit – the part of you that knows joy, love, and abundance on every level.
- Treat your body right! Healthy diet, good sleep, and down time can go a long way.
- Spend time with people who inspire you, and believe in the best of you. You’ll feel uplifted, optimistic and supported.
- Get regular body or energy work – that half sleepy/awake state most people fall into allows for deep healing to take place. Plus, it just feels so good!
- Spend quality time with your pet- a cat’s purr or a dog’s happy wagging tail can erase the worst of a bad day!