As we prepared for the big move into our new home, I knew that I needed to bring in the reinforcements and some of my favorite bloggers offered to guest post. Today’s post is brought to you by Jessica from Eat Sleep Be. I have known and followed Jessica for quite a while. When I first found out that we would be moving to Boston, she was one of the first people to jump in and throw out a bunch others that I just had to connect with. Jessica writes beautifully. Her love for social good, all things having to do with green and health, and her amazing personality draws me in. I am so excited for Jessica to share a perfectly timed post about lowering stress levels naturally. By the end of this week (heck, even right now), I’ll be needing this!
Less face it, stress does not do a body good. Stress is the brain’s response to a demand. The more demands we have, the more stress we feel. Sometimes, so much so, that the brain gets overwhelmed. Some of us shut down, lose sleep or get sweaty palms while others may get irritable, hyperactive or break out in hives. Our internal stress responses are designed to help us get through situations, from fleeing danger to dealing with a difficult boss.
In my time as a blogger, I have written and spoken quite a bit about ways to fight stress, and why doing so is so important, not just for your mindset but for your health. (Trust me, not only do I know this from years of research on the topic but also from personal experience.) When you are under stress, your: blood pressure rises, heart rate increases, breathing patterns change, immune system goes down, muscles become tense, digestive system breaks down, sleep patterns are disrupted, and any existing health problems can become aggravated. In fact, research shows that over 75% of emergency room visits and 90% of hospitalizations are for disorders that are directly or indirectly caused by stress.
Fortunately, if we pay attention to how we are feeling, there are some simple ways to lower stress levels. Are you ready to get started? Then let’s do this.
Here are seven simple ways to lower your stress levels naturally:
Exercise. Whether it is hitting the gym, taking a hike, or going for a swim, the endorphins brought on by exercise will calm your nerves and lift your spirits.
Meditate. Anyone who meditates will tell you that it is one of the greatest ways to consciously clear your mind. Meditation puts you in a stated of awareness and mindfulness, so you can let go of negative thoughts and replace them with affirmations instead. Someone wise once told me that during meditation, I can steer my mind to statements that start with “What can” in order to create solutions. Give it a try!
Take a nap. For some people, stress can be literally exhausting. A nap can revitalize your energy levels so that you can wake up and focus on tackling the source of the issue instead of being stuck in overwhelmed by the stress of it. Just make sure to set an alarm so you do not sleep the day away. Try keeping naps to 20-30 minutes.
Grab a girlfriend. I don’t know where I would be without my girlfriends. We lean on each other for moral support, and we share laughter beyond measure. Life can get real serious at times, and there is nothing better than having people who lift you up just by being there.
Find a hobby. Whether you love to play the piano, paint portraits, read a book, or browse on Pinterest, take a time out from the cause of your stress to do something you love.
Write it down. Keeping a pen and paper nearby can be helpful in times of stress. Having a to-do list or writing down your ideas can be a useful way to release those feelings of overwhelm which can be a major cause of stress. Often these strokes of brilliance happen when you are not at your computer (in the middle of the night, for example), so consider keeping a pen and paper nearby.
Get oily. Essential oils are my latest love and my new secret weapon. They can be diffused into the air near you, taken orally, or applied topically to pressure points, and work equally well however you choose to use them. They treat not only the body but the mind as well. You can diffuse certain oils while you sleep to keep you from having a restless night’s sleep or from bad dreams. (For example, during times of stress I often diffuse a combination of Peace and Calming, Valor and Lavender.) There are oils that will help you with focus, energy, agitation, anxiety, depression and fatigue. You can even apply an essential oil (such as Angelica or Cedarwood) to your wrists to help keep you feeling brave and steady before having a difficult conversation. Because essential oils are antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, and antioxidant, they can also protect the body and strengthen the immune system during times of stress. Check them out for yourself and prepare to be amazed.
Most importantly, determine what works for you. It is so important to have tricks up your sleeve. Whether you use them daily to keep stress at bay or in those necessary moments, knowing your go-to solutions will help you avoid those toxic behaviors that will only increase your stress levels.
Jessica Cohen is a writer of social good, health enthusiast, advocate, and admirer of people who overcome life’s obstacles. She writes at EatSleepBe.com, where you will find ways to pay it forward, along with information on health and wellness, motivation, mindfulness, green living, and more. Jessica also ghost writes and does strategic social media consulting. By night she shuttles kids from karate to soccer to hockey, and back again. Someday soon she would love to finish writing her book, if only she could find the time. You can follow Jessica on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.
Please note that essential oils are not evaluated by the FDA and therefore are not regulated to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. There are affiliate links in this post.