Wrinkled foreheads, tension-filled shoulders, aching joints and backs. These are all symptoms of what stress can do to us, and why these simple practices are needed to help us fine-tune our day.
Stress can come from so many different areas of life: relationships, schedules, obligations, duties, jobs, finances, and more. Clearly, the opportunity to experience stress on a daily basis is pretty high.
As we find ourselves constantly running on information overload, trying to find the calm within the daily storm can be challenging. We know we should be taking care of ourselves and doing our best to de-stress. Action-packed schedules make it easy to forget how to enjoy the moment and be in the present.
Here are 7 simple practices to reduce your stress and enjoy the moment:
Yep – that’s right. The simplest action we do automatically just to survive can be the most effective, instantaneous, stress-reducing technique.
Action: Close your eyes. Take 5-10 deep breaths. Inhale each breath for 5 seconds and exhale each breath for 5 seconds through your nose. You will experience instant relaxation and improve your focus to be present in the moment.
Stress causes tension in our bodies. A quick, simple stretch can improve blood circulation and reinvigorate your body and mind.
Action: Take 15 seconds to stand up and briefly stretch holding your hands over your head and reaching for the stars while standing on your tippy toes.
3. POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS
Skip the negative talk. We are constantly bombarded with negative thoughts and feelings, especially during times of stress when we think we are not good enough to do something. By thinking positive thoughts during times of stress, you can refocus your energy to remind yourself of what you are capable of doing.
Action: Write down 5 positive affirmations about yourself. When you are stressed, repeat each positive affirmation to yourself 5 times to remember your worth, value, and strengths.
4. STAY HYDRATED
Water is essential for our physical body to survive. If our body is physically stressed in addition to our minds, reducing mental stress will be more of a challenge. Research and studies have linked a relationship between water and stress reduction, in which dehydration can increase levels of cortisol, or stress hormones.
Action: Drink a glass of water to prevent the extra stress of being dehydrated and keep cortisol levels lower.
5. FRESH AIR
Getting outside or rolling down the window while driving can be a relief. The outside air can encourage us to breathe deeply, clear our heads, and boost endorphin levels.
Action: Take a brief walk outside or open a window to get some fresh air and practice your 5-10 deep breaths.
6. TAKE A BREAK
Research and studies show that taking quick little breaks can help with reducing stress and revitalizing our thoughts and concentration. A break can remind us to stop and smell the roses so we are present in the moment.
Action: Take a mini break as a part of your breathing practice, stretching practice, positive affirmation practice, hydration practice, or taking a walk outside.
7. SCHEDULE REMINDERS
Forgetting to breathe, stretch, or drink water? Simplify your life and give yourself a reminder so you remember what to do when stressed.
Action: Set an alarm in your phone to remind you whatever it is you need to do to keep up your healthy, stress-reducing habits.
Life will always throw punches at us, but we can control how much we let stress affect us by learning how to block them. By developing positive habits and actively practicing these stress-reducing techniques, you will learn how to block the stress thrown in our path.
And the less we allow stress to affect us, the more we can enjoy the moments we have.
HEADER IMAGE: JULIA CAESAR
Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN is a private practice Registered Dietitian and sports nutritionist based in San Francisco, CA. With a mission of creating deliciously healthy recipes for all ages, Sarah guides others to experience how small changes can make all the difference in improving their daily lives. Visit Sarah for more health inspiration!