Let’s face it. Stress isn’t fun. It can get in the way of our happiness, prevent us from feeling good, and push us to the edge. In short, it has the ability to make us feel off centered and imbalanced. That’s because stress has a major impact on our physical and mental well-being. More so than we might know or even believe. Elizabeth Agnvall said that “stress complicates a host of health problems. And chronic stress, a mainstay of modern life, doesn’t merely exacerbate disease, it actually can cause it.” That’s powerful. If stress has that type of impact on us, it’s time we take notice and initiative to lower the amount we let into our lives.
In other words, it’s essential to find ways to reduce and eliminate our stress. As bad as stress is, you don’t have to let it ruin your life. We’ll teach you some ways to decrease it and stop it before it even begins. It’s time to feel great again!
The science of stress
When we get stressed from work-related responsibilities, health issues, our family matters, or because we’re trying to be everything to everyone — we become overwhelmed. It’s too much to handle. And the burden of carrying this stress becomes heavy and wears us down. All of this heaviness results in stressful and negative emotions that create a perceived threat in our minds. When this response kicks in, our autonomic nervous system (ANS) shifts into the sympathetic mode.
This is associated with “fight or flight”. At this point, the chemical epinephrine (adrenaline) gets released from the adrenal glands. If the threat lasts long enough, or in this case, the stress, fear, worry, or anxiety doesn’t go away, the adrenals will release cortisol. Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone.” The more cortisol we produce the more elevated our stress levels become. And this can lead to a whole host of problems in our body and minds.
Can stress make you physically sick?
The more we’re exposed to stressful situations, the more stress we internalize, the more we activate the sympathetic nervous system. And this invariably has long-term repercussions. Our bodies aren’t meant to store and process large amounts of stress or have a regular stream of adrenaline and cortisol getting released. This can lead to weight gain, adrenal fatigue, burnout, anxiety, and a host of other illnesses.
In fact, research by Michael Ashworth, Ph.D., shows that chronic stress is also “linked to heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide.” And he found that 75 to 90 per cent of doctor visits occur because of stress-induced symptoms. Although stress has become normalized and accepted as part of our daily lives, it doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to fall victim to this fate.
We can make conscious changes to our lifestyle, our daily routines, and our mindset. By taking action and responsibility for our well-being, we can reduce stress and return our bodies to health. And we deserve that. Let’s take a look at some techniques you can try to minimize your stress levels.
1. Breathe, breathe, and breathe some more
This cannot be overstated enough. Our breath keeps us alive. It’s our life force energy. And it can help keep us calm and relaxed. If you were ever angry as a kid, your teacher or parent might have said, “take a deep breath, it will be alright.” There’s a lot of merit and scientific evidence to back up these words.
When we take slow deep inhales and slow long exhales, you stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. As we learned earlier, this promotes a state of peace, safety, and relaxation in your body and helps you return to homeostasis. That’s why certain meditation techniques and yoga practices focus a lot on the breath. Ancient Eastern medicine and wisdom taught many people this and we’re fortunate to have these tools today to help us cope and lower our stress.
2. Spend time in nature
The oxygen in the air, vitamin D levels from the sun, minerals from the ocean, and electrons from the earth have positive effects on our health. When we embrace the beauty of Mother Nature and spend time amongst all her wonderful natural resources, we become grounded.
It also gives us a chance to leave our worries and stress behind. There’s no pressure with nature, no deadlines to meet, or obligations to fulfil. It’s where we can be present. Whether that means walking through the grass barefoot, kayaking in the lake, or riding your bike through a forested trail. These are all opportunities to relax, smile, have fun, and feel at peace. In this state, stress can’t live or thrive.
3. Drink herbal teas with relaxing properties
Herbs like tulsi (holy basil), oat straw, ashwagandha, passionflower, lemon balm, and others have therapeutic potential to combat stress. As a bonus, they taste great as a tea, either mixed with other organic herbs or enjoyed on their own. The research on these herbs shows they soothe the nerves, lower anxiety, and reduce stress. They also contain minerals, which helps replenish the minerals lost during times of stress. Drinking a cup of tea a day, or several times during the day can make a noticeable difference in your life. But, if you need something stronger, you can also find these herbs in a capsule form with higher concentrations. Or you can make a tea infusion because it’s more potent than a cup of tea.
4. Find your tribe
As humans, we were never meant to be alone. This doesn’t mean we necessarily need a partner or a spouse to be happy. But, it means we need community. People we can trust, count on, and share in the beauty of life. In the modern sense, a tribe refers to like-minded people. Friends you click with, who get you, who share similar beliefs, and have dreams that align with your own. It’s the group of people you feel comfortable with and can share anything without the fear of being judged.
Your tribe is the group of people who collectively uplift you and each other, rather than tear you down. It’s those people who love you unconditionally and have your back no matter what. When you have support during difficult times, you don’t have to face your worries, fears, and concerns alone. In turn, you can prevent stress, or at the least, you can stop it in its tracks.
5. Get more rest and sleep
We hear this all the time. That’s because it’s so important to our overall health and minimizes the effects of stress. Like deep breathing, getting rest and great sleep also stimulates the “rest and restore” (or parasympathetic) nervous system. And when we’re in that state, our bodies can repair and heal.
Also, the state of our brain waves slows down a lot during sleep. We leave our busy, intellectual, and analytical lives behind during sleep by moving from beta to delta brainwaves. So, there’s a lot happening in our bodies when we slow down, rest, and get consistent sleep. Lots of great things. The less we’re thinking and worrying, the less we stress out.
Get a massage at home
Massage therapy is an excellent and fast solution to reset your nervous system and lower your stress levels. Receiving massage in the comfort of your home is one of the most beneficial and stress-free ways to experience the healing effects of massage therapy. In-home massage has a profound impact on body and mind relaxation. Human touch increases the production of certain hormones that make you feel calm and lowers the levels of stress hormones.
In-Home massage is an affordable and healthy self-indulging activity that you can schedule any day, any time of the year. There is no need to wait until you are overly stressed or in pain. Every day is a good time to relax and recharge. In fact, for many, the fall and winter months bring about more stress than usual.
Our massage therapist brings everything necessary for your in-home massage session so you have nothing to prepare. All you need to do is just sit back, relax and your massage therapist will take care of everything to ensure you’ll fully benefit from your In-home massage experience.