Stress is an inevitable part of life — we can certainly agree on that, can’t we? There are some things in life that we just can’t dodge, no matter how much we want to, and stress is one of them. There are always a few too many things on our to-do lists, a big project at work that is due next week, and the list goes on. Overwhelming stress can wreak havoc on your health and well-being — including sleep issues, headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, digestion problems -- the list goes on. It’s incredible the amount of influence stress has on how our body functions. Even though you cannot avoid stress, equipping yourself with practical tools to combat stress can make a drastic difference in your life. Here are a few practical ways to cope with stress:
Train your brain. Replacing your negative thoughts with positive or productive ones can reduce your stress levels. When you feel a negative thought creeping in, dig into what’s going on and give yourself some grace. Instead of throwing your hands in the air in a huff saying “Why is this happening to me again?!” as you’ve forgotten something at home for the third day in a row. Instead of belittling yourself, give yourself some love and commit to spending five minutes each night before bed to organize yourself for the next day. Create a special space where you can set things that you will need for the day ahead. The important takeaway here is to use your energy for productive, positive thoughts. You are human, of course, so no-one expects you to be a ray of sunshine every moment of the day. But learning to train your brain in this way can drastically impact your mood a majority of the time!
Breathe in, breathe out. Stress and the busy nature of life have an impact on how we breathe. Most people do not naturally breathe deeply, but instead, breathe very shallow breaths. Stop and notice how you are breathing right now. Chances are, you are not breathing deep enough to fill your lungs to the point your stomach extends. It can be quite a hard habit to change since our bodies do the breathing for us without having to think about and initiate each breath. Deep breathing provides the brain with optimal levels of oxygen which have many health benefits. Practicing deep breathing three times a day will help re-train this habit and will help decrease stress levels.
Avoid unnecessary stress. Evaluate what is stressing you out currently and write a list of anything that comes to mind. Do you have too much on your plate? Have you overcommitted yourself and your time? Take a look at where you can cut some things out and where you can delegate some tasks to others. Get creative with how you can turn these stressors into something less impactful on your health. For example, does grocery shopping with your kids in tow completely stress you out? Try grocery shopping online or make grocery shopping a time by yourself. It can be a luxury, and you’ll probably spend less too!
Get more practical stress-relieving tips and tons of support in my online Summer Wellness Community. Learn more at my website: www.sarawolfsen.com or e-mail me for details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sara Wolfsen is a Certified Health & Lifestyle Coach who specializes in helping people make their own healthy changes by providing private health coaching, nutrition education and wellness classes, and gentle weight-loss guidance and support. Schedule your complimentary coaching session and learn more online at www.sarawolfsen.com.