STRESS. It’s the hot topic of this decade, and many before it. Modern life is full of stresses and we don’t seem to be getting any better at dealing with it. We like to push ourselves to the edge and bury little worries away until they become insurmountable. We’re really good at that. But what if there was an easier way? What if stress was really a choice and we could choose to dismantle it before it became problematic? I’d like to share some easy practices you can incorporate into your day to day that may help to bring more relaxation and balance into your busy life.
I’ve been told by many, on numerous occasions, that I am a very calm and chilled out person; that I have a calming energy and don’t seem to get stressed out easily. Since I can remember, I have had a take on life that allows me to shrug off stressful situations and see the brighter side of things. I figure, life can be quite simple if we let it be: we can choose to appreciate the small things and see the beauty all around us in every moment. I truly value these things. And even though they are always there, we can easily get caught up in the future and where we’re headed and how we’re going to get there and forget to experience the present moment.
Now to be fair, I get stressed out too (I am human after all). What I want to share with you are some straightforward practices that have always helped me to break down stressful feelings and give a different perspective on the situation at hand.
They aren’t new by any means, but it can be very helpful to be reminded of them; particularly when life is bearing down on you.
5 SIMPLE PRACTICES TO HELP REDUCE STRESS
1. Talk about it
One of the best ways to deal with stress in your life can be to talk about it; the more we keep our worries and stresses inside, the worse they can seem. It’s actually quite easy to build things up and blow them out of proportion. Simply talking to others about the things that are stressing us out can bring incredible relief. Speaking your mind to someone you love and trust and to see what their perspective is can be so therapeutic. If you’re not looking for perspective, just ask them to kindly lend an ear.
On the other hand, if you can’t bare talking to someone about certain stressful topics, try writing in a journal. Write every thought that comes to mind just to get it out of your head. Writing it down can give you the space needed to think and see more clearly, and allow you to let go of those ruminating thoughts. You can even burn or tear up what you wrote. The point is to release it and let it go.
When you are in stressful situations, find the lighter side and literally laugh it off. Laughing can change the chemistry in our brains, releasing endorphins which are hormones in our bodies that fight stress and make us feel good. Try telling a joke or find something funny to listen to or watch. Distract yourself for a brief moment and try to see the true nature of the situation - it’s possible, when seeing the bigger picture, that it’s actually not that big of a deal.
3. Mastering your mind
This one might sound like you need to become a Buddhist monk to reduce your stress levels but in this case “mastering” is meant in the lightest sense of the word. Your mind is, after all, your mind. You control it; it doesn’t have to have control over you. There are some great practices that help with this:
- Meditation is an amazing place to start and can truly bring you back into balance with a calm mind and spirit - it works wonders! Even 5 minutes a day can have a positive impact (here’s a video that might help). Our lavender face mist is also an excellent meditation sidekick and can help make it easier to get into a meditative state.
- Another great way to master your mind is to be intentional about what you’re thinking. Become aware of what you think about all day: What are the top 5 thoughts that pass through your mind every day? Are they positive? Or are they negative? When you catch yourself thinking negatively, dismiss the thought and replace it with a positive perspective. Tell your negative mind chatter “no thanks,” “not right now,” and choose to replace it with something positive. It’s incredible how much relief this can bring you on a day to day basis.
4. Be kind
Did you know that being kind actually physically reduces stress levels? I recently listened to an amazing podcast by Mastin Kipp where he interviewed Dr. David Hamilton who has been studying the effects of kindness on the body. It turns out that being kind (and meaning it) can actually help keep you healthy. Like laughing, it can release endorphins and chemicals that make you feel good, and in turn it will reduce your stress levels both physically and mentally. You can listen to this great podcast here.
If you can’t sign off and get outside, another great way to change your state of mind is aromatherapy. Smell really can help take you to another place. RGG’s Forest Fresh Room & Body Mist can help transport you - take a trip to the forest with hints of cedarwood and fir needle.
Thanks so much for reading. If you’re really great at balancing your stress levels, let us know your best practices in the comments; sharing what works for you may help someone else!