Stressed? Here’s How to Lighten Your Life
Your 14-Point Plan for Relieving Stress
We all have stress in our lives and many reasons for it. It’s ok if it comes and goes quickly, but when you’re feeling stressed a lot, it can lead to some serious health issues.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress (or even if you’re not), it’s a good idea to have a plan for preventing and managing stress.
The healthiest ways to ease stress involve doing something active. Inactive ways of de-stressing such as watching television, surfing the internet, or playing video games may seem relaxing but they may increase your stress over the long term.
The best way to reduce stress is through activity. Here are some tools and techniques for reducing stress from your natural health experts at Nature’s Link.
1. Get Some Sun
Did you know that Vitamin D, the kind you get from the sun, can help decrease emotional distress? Getting outdoors at least once a day to soak up some of the sun’s rays (but not too much), is a good way to get some of this essential vitamin and ease some stress at the same time.
2. Dig a Garden
Gardening is an excellent way to channel your thoughts away from your worries. It’s been shown to help ease symptoms of depression and gives you a good work out too—another great way to lower stress levels.
3. Take a Nap
Napping helps balance your stress hormones and lower blood pressure. Add 15 minutes of shut eye into your day to help ease stress and boost energy levels.
4. Help Out
Volunteering in your local community or helping a friend, neighbor, or loved one provides great benefits for the helper. When you do something good for someone else, your body is flooded with feel-good hormones which helps lower stress levels, brings joy from contributing to the greater good, and enables you to get some perspective on your troubles.
5. Have a Laugh
Laughter is great medicine and it’s particularly useful for easing stress. The act of laughing helps boost heart health and reduce cardiovascular disease. Laughing with a friend will help you feel connected which helps lower stress levels.
6. Find a Purpose
People with a strong sense of purpose in life experience less stress and recover more quickly from it. This is because a strong sense of purpose enables you to redirect your focus away from stressors and on to the activities or work you love. People without a strong sense of purpose are more likely to dwell on life’s inevitable stressors and find it harder to keep challenges in perspective. Find something you love to do and channel your energy into that activity to help reduce stress.
7. Exercise or Move
Physical activity that gets your heart pumping increases the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, known as endorphins. Find a physical activity that you really enjoy so that there’s no stress about doing it. For example, dancing, swimming, gardening, pickleball or others will help you feel less stress almost immediately.
8. Eat Well
Your stress levels are affected by your diet too. Diets high in fiber and low in saturated fat have been shown to have a positive effect on overall mood. And B vitamins help ease mood disorders, including depression. Download our e-book, Food is Figureoutable, for more on how food impacts your health.
9. Drink Water
Stress increases the hormone cortisol in your body. Being dehydrated makes the situation even worse by further increasing cortisol levels. Make sure you stay hydrated every day to help keep stress levels low and your body and brain functioning optimally.
10. Prioritize Fun
We don’t often prioritize fun in our lives, particularly as we get older. Yet taking time to do something you enjoy can significantly improve your mindset when you’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s another good way to get some perspective into your life. It’s doesn’t have to be anything expensive or too time consuming — reading a favorite book or calling a good friend will work.
Bringing yourself into the present moment through meditation or mindfulness is a great way to lower stress levels. Meditation is not about clearing your mind. Sit with eyes closed and let your thoughts come and go like clouds in the sky. Ten or 15 minutes once a day can help soothe the mind and body.
12. Write it Out
Writing or journaling is another good way to ease stress. Putting your worries and other feelings down on paper allows your brain a reprieve from carrying troublesome thoughts. It also provides you with a reference for the future, so you can see how worries come and go all the time.
Your breath is always available to you. When you’re in a stressful situation, bring your attention to your inhale. Say to yourself, “breathing in,” and then “breathing out” with your exhale. Putting your attention on your breath will help calm the mind and body by redirecting attention away from stressors. Here’s more on how to use your breath to ease stress.
14. Consult a Mind/Body Mentor
At Nature’s Link, we believe that having a plan to reduce stress is as important as planning what you’re going to eat or when and how you’re going to exercise or move. If you need guidance to develop your plan to reduce stress, Dr. Kristine Devillier can help.
Dr. Devillier is a mind/body mentor, board-certified naturopath, and master herbalist. She brings more than 20 years’ experience and a wealth of knowledge about natural health to each consultation — providing easy-to-follow advice on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Dr. Devillier creates custom-made plans that fit your life and enable you to achieve your goals.
If you are ready to reduce stress in your life, call us on 337-332-2705 or reach us online to connect with one of our health experts. We proudly offer natural health consultations in Breaux Bridge, Lafayette, and the entire Acadiana area.