Did you know that stress can contribute to inflammation in the body? Reducing inflammation is integral as we pursue our happiest, healthiest bodies and that is why it is so important to find ways to reduce stressors and triggers in our lives. With stressors occurring so frequently in our day-to-day it can be difficult to understand what is stressing us and why, there is just so much stimulation all the time.
It may seem like a waste of time to invest in stress relief techniques because you already have so much to get done in the day, but we promise that it will be worth it in the long run to create these habits and routines. One of our core beliefs is that building a foundation one habit at a time is way more successful then trying to do all the things at once. So with that in mind, take a look at our “stress relievers” and pick one to start. Something that catches your attention as doable and that you may have found works in the past.
When certain triggers occur it may be hard to realize that they are even a trigger because they have gone on for so long. Start to pay attention to your body throughout the day. If you notice that your jaw is clenched or you are tensing up or your breathing is getting shallow, this may be an indication that something has triggered you. It could be traffic on your way to work, or someone mentioning debt that causes you to think about your own situation, or a text that rubs you the wrong way. Tuning into your body and mind here will help remind you to practice one of the following stress relievers.
1. Take ten deep breaths: you may have heard this before and there may be a part of you that thinks this is overrated but please allow the power of breath work to be a part of your routine. It is one of the cheapest, most effective ways to slow the body down and bring it out of a fight or flight state. You may notice that dogs will do “adrenaline” shakes after a stressful situation, this is their way of letting that go and moving on. As humans we often don’t have something that signals to the body that we are ok and can therefore move on without that stress staying with us. Deep breathing is the next best thing. One of our favorite meditation apps, headspace, says it best
"Many people have unintentionally become shallow breathers, which is a mindless breathing pattern where you inhale through the mouth, hold the breath, and take in less air. Long-term shallow breathing can actually keep the body in a cycle of stress, affecting everything from mental to physical health and even susceptibility to illness. While we shouldn’t stay in a prolonged state of controlled breath, starting the practice for a few moments per day can make you more conscious of your habits outside of the exercise. Try this quick video to get comfortable with deep breathing"
2. Practice gratitude: we will come back to this one often because it truly is so effective. Taking time to recite what we are grateful for brings us into the moment allowing us to be present and it takes our mind away from the stressors in our life. It’s not intended to make us feel guilty for being stressed, but more so reminding us of how wonderful our lives are. We like to use our Everyday journal each morning to record what we are grateful for. One thing that is important here is to provide detail and really feel into the gratitude. It’s one thing to quickly write down that you are grateful for your dog, it’s another to be present in that moment with your dog and celebrate the joy such a wonderful creature can bring you.
3. Move your body: I actually just practiced this one today. I was feeling super overwhelmed with the amount of content that is already out there and was doubting whether anyone even wanted to read these blog posts anyways to the point where I was crippled with anxiety and could not write a single word. Instead of dwelling and beating myself up I got my butt outside and put myself through a 15 minute workout. It was nothing fancy, just simple lunges, squats, pushups, core work, but being outside, letting everything go and connecting with my body made a huge difference! This movement allows us to take our mind off things, enjoy the happy upbeat music, and it gets our happy chemicals flowing, which is so important if we are feeling stressed.
4. Mindmap: this is one of our favorite tools when we are feeling overwhelmed. We pick the trigger word, maybe it’s fear of failure, and we write it in the middle of a blank piece of paper. Then we write down every single word that comes to mind when we think of fear of failure. This allows the mind to dump everything that is going on and see it out on paper. You can start to trace certain words, identify patterns, create action plans, whatever you need to do with these words.
5. We have a whole module dedicated to stress reduction in our online program and we absolutely love working through this with our clients because it is such a game changer to be able to control stress and how we respond to situations. If you have any questions about this please do not hesitate to ask!