I don't know about you, but I have been feeling the strain of everything going on in the world today. The violence, the hate, the cruelty. It just hurts. Having been through a very stressful ten years of emotional and mental abuse just makes the situation worse for me. It is heightened. I feel everything so much deeper, so I have to be extra careful about who I am around and what I let into my life.
For many, though, it is not like that. It is very challenging and very emotionally exhausting, but perhaps not as deep. Still, it is important to exercise caution and take some steps to relieve the stress that is taking up too much of our lives. A little stress is normal, but when it becomes too much a part of our lives, then something needs to change.
Below are a few ways that can help alleviate the simple stressors that can lead to the bigger ones. So, if you practice these simple things, hopefully, you are on your way to having a more balanced life.
1. Deep Breathing
I know many yoga instructors and those that practice yoga. One of the main secrets is deep breathing and being in touch with it. It is at the center of practicing yoga because it is considered a source of energy and life for everyone. Try deep breathing and see how different you will feel. Take several minutes to just let all the stress and problems you are thinking about exhale away with the deep breaths. You will notice a difference! Breathing in more oxygen will only help you calm down and reduce your blood pressure!
2. Take a Walk
Did you know that going for a 20 minute walk can produce certain endorphins that can decrease stress hormones and create a better mood? Studies also show that walking in a forest is even better for you!
3. Pet a Dog
Interacting with animals has been proven to decease cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and increase levels of the positive hormone oxytocin. (also released during breast feeding) Dog owners are also more likely to survive longer than a year following a major heart attack. Do you have a dog at home?
4. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough good sleep is so important. It is said that having 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep is better than 8 hours of sleep that has been interrupted constantly.
When a person is undergoing more stress in their life, getting more sleep is even more important. It is difficult to shut our brains off at the end of the day, especially when stressed, but shutting your mind off so restful sleep can come is very important.
Listening to a sleep app at night that provides white noise and/or peaceful sounds can be like the chewing gum-it puts your focus on something besides the racing thoughts in your mind.
Another great way to de stress is to spend time with your family hiking, swimming, playing board games, or having a movie night.
Laugh more, love more, and spend the rest of the year cherishing the memories you have.