Yesterday was Stress Awareness Day!
How are your stress levels at the moment? Are they through the roof or have you got them under control?
Deadlines. Being stuck in traffic. Having too much to do and not enough time to do it in. Most of us are familiar with these kinds of daily stressors that get our heart racing, our breath quickening, and our stomach churning.
When was the last time you checked in with yourself, particularly when it came to your stress levels?
Stress has become so widespread that we accept it as “normal” to have insomnia, digestive issues, and chronic anxiety.
Stress reduction needs to be part of our personal wellness routines as it can negatively impact our ability to perform in every aspect of our lives.
So what can be done?
❖ Meditate! Meditation has shown to cut stress and even just a simple 5-minute meditation practice each day can have a HUGE impact. Unsure about meditation? Try downloading an app such as Headspace, Insight Timer or Calm to help get you started!
❖ Mindful eating. Before your next meal, try sitting up straight away from distractions, and take 2 to 4 rounds of deep breathing. Breathing in for a 4-count, holding for 4, and exhaling for a 4-count.
❖ Take time out for yourself. Our minds and bodies require a certain amount of variety, or else our overcharged nervous systems will keep speeding right into the next day. Try to take at least one day off each week to do something you really enjoy, whatever that may be. Remember to include things like getting enough sleep, having a leisurely bath, listening to music, seeing friends, or anything that gives you pleasure.
❖ Deep breathing. Become a better breather. Stress can cause shallow breathing, which means that your body won’t get enough oxygen to fully relax. Learn to breathe more slowly and deeply from your abdomen. One way to do this is to imagine that you have a small beach ball behind your belly button, which you slowly inflate and deflate.
❖ Monitor your self-talk Check in with your negative thoughts to see how often you fret about things such as losing your job, or making mistakes. If you find yourself obsessing, try to substitute a negative thought with a positive, but realistic one. For example, instead of thinking, “I know something will go wrong during my presentation”, tell yourself, “No matter what happens, I can handle it.” Much of our anxiety is self-induced, meaning that we often get ourselves wound up worrying about worst-case scenarios or blowing small incidents out of proportion.