There are millions of ways to reduce stress, but these are tried and tested by me like a charm. Thus, my immune system is stronger, my actions are intentional instead of reactive, and my direction is life is forward instead of sporadic and circular. Physically, it means my digestion is more on point, my body is not holding onto toxins and I can think with a rational head. Awe. Life is so much better on the other side of stress.
- Soothe your thoughts like you would to a little child. I think the most powerful way we avoid stress is with controlling our thoughts. Notice when you think something that doesn't feel good, you know it because your emotions change. Then switch the negative thought to something that feels better. Make excuses for yourself, soften the blows of anger you send to yourself. Every one of your cells responds to each thought you think, it creates biological chemicals based on what you're thinking. So be kind. Create a mantra that sends the message to your body that "everything is OK." Don't think for a second that high-level CEO's and professional athletes are wasting their time thinking negative thoughts about themselves. If they were, they wouldn't have succeeded. Think Responsibly. The article, How Your Thoughts Program Your Cells, explains it this way:
- Move. Anytime we can be inside our body, through exercise and movement, we can reaffirm to our body that we don't want to hold onto negative emotions. So move your body - walk, do yoga, throw a one-man dance party, try a handstand or drop and do ten push ups. So, take up Tai Chi or kickboxing, or my favorite - get in the box and do some Crossfit. If you like being alone, find an activity you can do solo. Hiking is an activity where I can be alone but I don't feel lonely. This physical movement moves negative energy OUT while welcoming in endorphins and positive thoughts.
- Breathe and sigh. Your breath is your connection (internal world) to the
- Count Your Blessings. We're beyond-privileged in the Western world. Two cars per household, clean running water, a refrigerator and freezer (sometimes two!) a cozy, safe home, clean air to breath, the ability to think your own thoughts, satin sheets to mold to our bodies, police and ambulances one three digit dial away, unlimited possibilities at our fingertips to create businesses, free will to write blogs and books on any topic. Airplanes to fly us across the world, Amazon to ship a product in two days.Holy crap! Can you recognize that? Gratitude brings about a hormonal cascade of dopamine and serotonin to soothe you. Start waking up thinking of 5 things you're grateful for, right away in the morning. Gratitude can create a bliss state because it points your focus in the direction of appreciation which brings you to joy. And where your attention goes, things grow.
- Put your legs up the wall, damit. This is one thing I find so much peace through. Because life does not give us the ability to go to yoga class or walk away from my screaming kids in order to change our mood. You can't rely on your circumstances to change your mood, that only works a portion of the time. All you need is a wall or just the floor. But get your legs up above your heart and just breathe. You want to get the blood flowing to your brain and heart again, and this sends fresh blood to those areas. I sometimes do this before bed for restful sleep or when I need to read a book for school. Putting your legs up the wall activates rest and digest mode within 5 minutes and you'll feel it. I pinky swear.
Have you ever heard of muscle testing? Known also as Applied Kinesiology, during muscle testing, when you say a sentence, or have a patient hold a product, the body responds physically by becoming weaker or stronger? There's a measurable response, and the client doesn't even have to know what product or sentence is being tested. I've seen this with my kids. When they get angry and irrational, they get clumsy, often tripping over their own feet. They've weakened their senses with negative emotions. So realize that with every thought you have the opportunity to become stronger or to weaken you systemically.
Just to finalize: get better digestion, a happy body and a clear mind with happy thoughts, moving your body, breathing deeply and minding your mind.