What is living in this constant low level stress state really doing to us?
Before I provide you with my tips to lower your stress, I should start of by saying that there is nothing inherently wrong with stress.
It’s a natural part of life and a response to an immediate threat.
Actually, rather it being something wrong, there is something inherently right about the fact that our instincts and our body can give us the chemicals and ability to react and respond to an immediate threat in such a powerful way.
While our body has not changed in many thousands of years, our lifestyle is constantly changing as is the stress that we now encounter on a day to day basis, whether that be real or perceived in some people’s eyes.
While we used to and still deal with very emergent stressful situations that are and were very intense, (accidents, grief, illness, shock, attack) we now deal with lower-level stress, less intense, less emergent, but still as an everyday event that impacts us in negative ways.
As our life styles move further away from what is more natural for us, and as we don’t do anything to help ourselves from this place, we weaken our ability to handle the day to day stress that we now call life.
Having a lower level constant stress is known to exacerbate or create mental health problems, depression, anxiety, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, eating disorders, menstrual problems, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, diabetes, muscle and joint pain, allergies, low immunity, frequent colds, poor concentration, irritability, mood changes, sleep disturbances and insomnia, change in sex drive and more…..
It would be unrealistic to suggest we all go and live off grid.
I’m certainly not one that would choose that (though we know at times of stress it seems tempting), however, what we can do is realise and understand our responsibility to make changes in our life that either change the actual stress, or change the way in which we deal with it.
5 Tips to lower your stress
Below are 5 tips to help you change your state and deal with stress on a daily basis.
Our body is made to move, for so many reasons.
Movement is a great way to release anxiety, stress chemicals and increase feel-good chemicals along with a range of other benefits.
It makes us feel proud, gives us a sense of achievement and gives our mind a break from the constant chatter, especially if you move in a way you truly enjoy.
2. Learn to be still
Many people find meditation difficult, so if this is you, start first with stillness.
Don’t give up on meditation but give this a go – just be still for simply 3 -5 minutes a day.
Set a timer, and sit with your eyes closed while doing absolutely nothing.
Do not move to itch, do not switch around in your chair. Allow your thoughts to pass through and notice them as they do.
Give yourself and your body this time to just be still in every way.
If you think about it, from the time we get up, to the time we go to sleep, we never actually give our body an opportunity to be still. Something so necessary for us in every way, with the ability to impact our physical, mental, emotional and soulful pillars.
3. Find joy each day and let that be your focus
I speak to so many people that go through weeks and weeks, without knowing exactly what has brought them joy in that time.
What do you do every day that creates a feeling of joy?
It needn’t be a big, long, time taking task.
It could be having music on as you shower in the morning, literally stopping to smell the roses on a walk, watching your favourite comedy show, going to your favourite local with your partner, stopping to pat a dog on your way out of a shop, having more intimacy with your partner, laughing with a friend, burning essential oils, volunteering, having plants in your home and looking after them, reading a few pages of your favourite book each night………and the list goes on.
The goal is to add in as much joy to your day in small ways. This gives us a sense that we do more than get up and go to work. It allows us to see that we are contributing to our lives and others in a positive way.
4. Prioritise Sleep
It’s really easy to get away with a lack of or poor quality sleep now days.
We have a never-ending list of things to do and not enough time to do them. We look at our devices until the very last minute before sleep and often look at them as the first port of call in the morning.
At the very least give yourself a night time routine that relaxes you.
That may be putting some nice music on before bed, stop looking at your devices at least 30 minutes before bed, have your bed made so its lovely to get into, make your bedroom a place you want to be for sleep, make sure its tidy and helps you feel safe that creates a mood for sleep.
The last one of my tips to lower your stress is to make sure you get some nutrients in during the day.
When we don’t make time to eat, skip lunch, skip breakfast, rush lunch, eat something that has little to no nutritional value, or eat on the run at the end of the day, we really aren’t giving our body the opportunity to deal with stress at a physiological level.
We cannot expect our body to deal with even basic processes, let alone any process that stress places pressure on if we don’t provide it with nutrients and nourishment.
Take the time to go for a walk at lunch and either eat what you brought from home, or buy some real food.
Take left overs, purchase a vegetable juice, drink some more water, enjoy a tea and relax for a few minutes.
There are endless ways to enjoy food (that’s for another blog), however, right now, our focus is on making sure that each and every day, we provide our body with at least some nutrients that will help our body to deal with whatever it needs.
Stress is both a major topic and major concern now days. The impact is far reaching and can never be underestimated. We will continue to discuss this topic, so paramount to our health and wellness.
Until next time, have a go at all or any of the above 5 tips to lower your stress and enjoy feeling more like yourself and less like the stressed version of you.