Last week I started a discussion on stress. I talked about my own experience of how I learned that being stressed out was actually a choice. And that by making little tweaks to the way we choose to view what is happening and how we choose to respond to situations, we can turn previously stressful situations into manageable ones.
I realize that changing our perspectives and our habituated response patterns is not an easy task. Today I want to go further and give you tools that I have found very helpful for managing stress and helping me gain a better perspective on things.
Here are my top 8 tips that I use to overcome stress:
- Breathe: Deep belly breathing works to switch your body from the Fight or Flight response to the Relax and Restore mode. Taking just two minutes a day to do some deep belly breathing can be very helpful to calm your nerves, and help you re-focus and feel more grounded.
- Meditate: having a regular meditation practice will completely revolutionize your life. Start with just five minutes a day. Set a timer so that you don’t have to think about how long it has been. Then focus on your breath, breathing in and out. The key with meditation is not to quiet your mind necessarily, because your brain will always be chattering, it is instead, to work on not responding to the brain chatter, and simply observing it rather than engaging in conversation with those thoughts.
- Move your body: exercise of any sorts is helpful for managing stress, but it’s especially good if you have an activity that you particularly love- dancing, yoga, jump rope, running, etc. anything that will get you moving, do it!
- Spend time outside: Try to get outdoors- take a walk, hear the birds chirping, the wind swaying in the trees. Being in nature is incredibly grounding for the body and soul.
- Practice daily gratitudes: Even when it seems like the world is falling apart it is possible to think about things you are grateful for, and when you do, it makes everything feel just a little bit better. I try to start my day listing out all of the things I am grateful for- it helps to start my day on a positive note. A simple way to start it is:
“I am so happy and grateful for…”
And if you are really grasping for anything- anything will do: “I am so happy and grateful for my shoes”, “…for the car that I drive”, “…for the bed that keeps me warm at night”, etc.
6. Quit the caffeine: cutting out caffeine made a huge difference for me- my energy improved, and I noticed that I felt much more grounded throughout the day.
7. Quit the sugar: Sugar is so addictive. Once you are on the roller coaster of the sugar highs and lows it is very difficult to get off. I did, and I can show you how! Super ninja trick- eat some protein (like nuts and seeds) and/or fat (avocado, coconut oil, etc.) and your cravings will go away!
8. Drink more water: when your body is hydrated, all of the cells function better, and you will feel more grounded.