Live Well Part II 10 Effective Stress Reduction Techniques

Stress is among us. It surrounds us and there is no way of avoiding it.
For the last week I have been experiencing a headache, my heart rate was higher than normal, sadness and feeling empty. I realized yesterday that these are signs of stress.
After thinking about it, I finally figured out why. My son would be 30 years old on March 7th. Instead, he is forever 24. The grief of losing my son to suicide at 24 lingers. There are times when it is more prevalent than others. Now is one of those times. As a grief coach, health and fitness enthusiast, I have a large toolbox to help when this happens. I want to share my top ten stress reduction techniques that I use time and time again.
Learning these techniques can help to relieve stress now and in the future. These can calm your body, mind, and spirit.

Top 10 Stress Reducing Techniques

  1. Meditation is a practice that involves carious techniques. It clams the mind’s non-stop activity, frees your mind from incessant thought and worries, relaxes the body and helps sharpen focus. The beauty of meditation is that it can be done anywhere, any time. However, the ideal situation is to be in a quiet environment where you are comfortable and free of distractions. Meditation is simply focusing on your breathing – the inhalation and exhalation. When your mind wanders, gently bring your focus back to your breath. Do this for 5-10 minutes and increase the time as you get better at focusing on your breath without distractions.
  2. Walking is another do anywhere stress strategy. It can offer fresh air, a change of scenery and gets blood flowing. The extra oxygen helps with focus, reduces anxiety and can be grounding. Walks do not need to be long, just as long as you take a break from what you are doing.
  3. Aromatherapy, also known as candles, essential oils, or other body products can help with energy, relaxation and being present in the moment. Personally, I use essential oils because they can be targeted to specific needs, are natural and don’t harm the environment. I have diffusers in several rooms in my home, including my bedroom and office. I can use different oils for the space I am working or sleeping in.
  4. Artwork is a great way to get in touch with your inner child. Doodle, draw, or paint. Coloring has been found to be meditative, reducing stress. Adult coloring books have risen in popularity and can be done anywhere.
  5. Eat a Healthy Diet. Foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt can result in a spike in blood sugar, cause brain fog and contribute to poor physical health. As a personal trainer, nutrition consultant and grief coach, I cannot over emphasize the impact nutrition has on stress and how you react to it. Focusing on quality protein, (not all animal based), healthy fats such as avocados and simple carbohydrates, think fruits and veggies.
  6. Supplement your nutritional deficits. Stress affects your body’s ability to absorb and utilize vitamins and minerals. For 15 years I have been taking a whole-food nutritional supplement that has dried fruits and veggies. After my son died, I doubled up on my doses and found I was able to deal with the stress. Fortunately, I stayed healthy and was able to focus. This minimized the impact on my physical health. I also drink loose leaf teas with anti-inflammatory properties.
  7. Drink water. It is amazing how dehydration can impact your response to stress. It is suggested to drink ½ of your body weight in ounces of water. Here is the easy calculation.
Your body weight ______ /divided by 2. Example 180/2 = 90. A person weighing 180 pounds should be drinking 90 ounces of water.
  1. Express gratitude. Gratitude gives you the opportunity to focus on what you have and can be grateful for. It has been shown to help people with improved mental health, lower stress, and a higher quality of life. Gratitude does not have to be big or complicated. It can be as simple as recognizing a sunny day, a flower or you have food to eat. I recommend a gratitude journal to keep track of what you are grateful for.
  2. Exercise is a key component in managing stress and improving mental health. Exercise produces “feel-good hormones” or endorphins. These endorphins can help boost mood, reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. They can also act like natural pain relief. You can consider an activity to be exercise if it is intentional to sustain or improve health and fitness. Some common forms of exercise are walking, running, and weight training. These are the ones I personally do. I love lifting heavy things! There are many more options. Try many and find the ones you like.
  3. Cut out Things That Add to Your Stress. This in itself may be stressful, however the long-term benefit outweighs the effort. Watching the news, constant activity on social media, and toxic relationships are huge in adding to stress. Turn off the news, set limits to digital devices and focus on relationships that are healthy, uplifting.
These are my personal top 10 strategies for reducing stress. Some are easier than others. Some take more time and effort and practice. I utilize them frequently. As I approach my sons would-be 30th birthday, I will be tapping into them even more.
I suggest giving these tips a chance to reduce your stress. They will help you manage the ups and downs of daily life and the bigger events. You will thank yourself for maintaining an overall level of well-being.
This is Part I in the series of Live Well. Stay tuned for more tips on Living Well.
#livewell #mindset #activelife #gratitude #helpingyoumoveforward #unstuck
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