A few years ago my family and I were wandering our way thru Wonder Works in downtown Orlando. We had pinpointed our geographical position on earth, went thru hurricane force winds and now we were playing mind games. I sat across my husband (my opponent) as a device was strapped to our heads to monitor our brain waves. Between us was a cold metal table with a ball directly in the center. The object of the game was to clear your mind. The person who could best clear their mind would send the ball rocketing into the other persons net – a mental tug of war if you will. But for my husband it would be nothing but sweet victory time and time again. No matter how hard I tried I could not turn off the inevitable stream of thoughts. This my friends, is the story of my life.
Many a night I’ve laid awake praying to fall asleep and yet it never comes. Most of the time it’s running over the typical stresses of every day life. There is the type of stress I thrive on like deadlines, assignments, school work and the stress that accompanies motherhood like the kids, the bills and the house. These stressors are a normal part of everyday life but letting them keep me awake at night isn’t. Which is why it’s important to be proactive with our daily stressors and recognize when they’re becoming more than they should be and find ways to cope.
5 Helpful Tips To Reduce Stress
1. Practice Breathing Techniques
There are two types of breathing techniques I use regularly.
Yoga Breathing Technique
Spend 5-minutes just focusing on your breathing. I begin by doing a few head and shoulder rolls and then move into the breathing. Sit up straight with your eyes closed and one hand on your belly. Take a slow inhale through your nose and feel the breathe start in your abdomen and work its way to the top of your head. Reverse the process as you exhale through your mouth.
This one isn’t so much a way to reduce stress as it is to help me fall asleep at night but the two things go hand in hand. Rooted in yoga, this technique is used to reduce stress and slow your heart rate. It’s an easy three step technique:
- Breathe in deeply through your nose for 4 seconds
- Hold your breath for 7 seconds
- Exhale through your mouth for 8 seconds
It requires a bit of practice if you’re not used to conscious breathing and if you find the lengths too long you can adjust them as long as you keep your count even.
Exercise regularly by bicycling, walking, hiking, jogging, or working out at the gym. Not only can your body fight stress better when it is fit but exercise produces feel good endorphins.
3. Get Out
Sometimes I just need to step away, whether that’s taking my dog for a walk in the park or meeting my friend at a coffee shop. When you’re stressed, it can feel like you should be spending every minute fixing your daily stressors – a messy house, a mountain of laundry, or the project that’s due, but really it can just bog us down further. Instead, just get out and away for a while so you can come back refreshed.
4. Reflection or Journaling
If you’re like me, stress doesn’t go away by clearing your mind. Instead, it helps if I set aside 15-20 minutes each day to reflect either thru journaling or just problem solving my thoughts.
5. Natural Relaxation Aids
Homeopathic aids like RESCUE Products are gentle and safe products that help you stress less, stay calm and in control. They’re developed by a doctor and are non-habit forming with no side effects which means they’re one less thing to stress about. They come in a variety of forms and you can pick them up at your local CVS, Walgreens or Whole Foods when you need that extra boost in your effort to reduce stress.
What tips do you have for reducing stress?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.