Everybody experiences stress. It comes to our body through the 3 T’s: toxins, traumas, and thoughts. Thoughts, or mental stress, are a big one throughout the year, especially during the holidays. Every day we are bombarded with worries like bills, work, getting kids to school, health, household chores, and all the expectations to keep all these things afloat. Then we find out how bad stress is for us and we stress out about that! It’s a never-ending cycle.
It’s important to reduce stress because it can impact every system in the body. When one system is affected, all of the others will be as well. For example, when stress puts the body into the fight or flight mode, it can impact the digestive system so the body won’t be able to digest the food as efficiently. This can lead to acid reflux, colon problems, hormone problems, high blood pressure, and so much more.
At The Wellness Way, we encourage testing to understand what is truly causing your body stress. Any stresses that we can take away are going to leave your body better equipped to deal with the other stresses that come your way.
Here are nine ways you can work on reducing stress in your life today.
9 Ways to Reduce Stress
1) Get adjusted.
As you get stressed your shoulders go up and your muscles tighten up. This can lead to subluxations or misalignments along the spine, especially in the mid-back area. We always recommend getting adjusted to help manage your physical stress response!
2) Eat some real chocolate.
This superfood makes it onto the list very frequently and when we say chocolate, we mean real cacao that’s unadulterated. You don’t want run of the mill chocolate that has been ruined with high heat, chemicals, and dairy. Cacao is high in antioxidants. The magnesium and serotonin found in this food help you relax. Consider this a prescription for healthy cacao! We have some great recipes in our desserts section!
3) Practice yoga and focused breathing.
Focused breathing can help get you out of the fight or flight mode. A great way to start practicing focused breathing is with yoga. Don’t worry if you aren’t flexible or feel like you aren’t any good at yoga. That’s the nice thing about yoga; it is for all levels. With yoga you come at your own terms reducing blood pressure and cortisol levels. That’s why yoga makes it on the list as an extremely good practice to help reduce stress.
4) Enjoy time with pets.
Pets have been found to reduce blood pressure and loneliness. Taking your dog for a walk or cuddling with your favorite furry companion can reduce a lot of stress. If you don’t have one of your own and don’t want that responsibility, borrow one! Whether you spend time with your friends’ animals or your own, enjoying the companionship of pets can help increase your sense of joy and fulfillment.
5) Get a massage.
If you have ever had a massage, you know the truth: massages are awesome! Massage helps decrease the body’s fight or flight response and muscle tension. Regular massages (every week or every other week) can help build a pattern of tension-release into your routine.
6) Find your tribe.
Find people who help reduce your stress and don’t add to it with unnecessary drama. Enjoy the company of people who will bring you back to reality and keep you off that stress ledge. Great people need other great people! Find great people to help lift you up.
7) Watch YouTube videos or listen to podcasts.
Find a YouTube channel or podcast that inspires you while helping you unwind and destress. Self-development is a great way to refocus your thoughts and build yourself. Look for one that resonates with you, because we all need something a little different.
8) Support your body with herbs.
There are some herbs that can help with your reaction to stress. They never take it away and should not be a replacement for learning how to cope with stress on a whole, but they can help assist you as you are learning. Kava and California poppy are wonderful for stress management.
9) Make a plan and identify your priorities.
This is one of the most important things you can do, so don’t skip this one! If you’re stressed it is often because you feel like you are out of control, and your life is controlling you. Take some time to define your priorities and identify how you can build a life that supports them.
Everybody experiences stress but not everybody has to be controlled by their stress. Addressing stress and learning to copy healthfully is one of the most valuable things you can do for your health!
Want to learn more about priorities? Check out Dr. Patrick’s article, Priorities for Health, and his video.