Stress is a part of life, but for many of us, it is all-consuming. We feel powerless against it, and all the while, our mental and physical health is taking a beating from which they may never recover. It does all sorts of horrible things to the body, from increasing storage of dangerous belly fat, to causing systemic inflammation which is a cause of many diseases.
Finding ways to distress is not an indulgence; it is not something you should merely ‘’try’’ to make time for. It should be a top priority.
As someone who found stress was consuming her life at one point, here are just a few ways I have managed to get it under control.
Meditation is not just for granola-chomping, let’s all love each other hippies ( which is in no way meant to be disparaging as I count myself among you). While it can certainly be a big part of a person’s spiritual practice, it is also a highly practical tool to manage stress, and create a healthier mind. It has been shown to provide numerous benefits, from helping people cope better with chronic pain conditions to lowering blood pressure. This has been a life saver for me, and since I started to sit regularly, my stress has been greatly reduced. It calms my mind, allows me to respond and not react, and has helped me gain a more positive perspective on life.
Journaling can be a very powerful tool for reducing stress, and I was reluctant to do it at first. It was kind of uncomfortable sitting down and writing out all my stresses, fears, worries, and problems I may have had throughout the day. But, after a while, I came to relish this time with my journal. There is something very liberating about taking all the junk floating around in your head, and getting it down on paper. It dilutes its power. It gives you an opportunity for reflection. You will begin to notice patterns, and triggers, allowing you to take a more proactive role in designing a life with less stress.
Do Things Just for You
A lot of us have a bit of martyr within; we lament about all the energy we expend tending to the needs of others, whether it be our children, spouse or boss. We don’t like it, but on some level, relish this victim role. For fear of being thought of as selfish, we deny ourselves all sorts of pleasures in life, pleasures that are not just for sheer indulgence, but would help keep us healthier mentally and physically. You need to do things that are just for you, and it does not have to involve breaking your bank account. If you like the idea of pampering, you can often find affordable and convenient facials and massages on offer in chain establishments. Massage Envy, for example, offers a monthly subscription that entitles you to one massage or facial each month. If you love soaking up culture, make it a point to visit museums or take in a show at least at least once a month. Think about what types of activities would recharge your batteries, and move them up on the priority list.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about all things health and wellness.