You already know that you stress to much and it would be great if reading this blog post could stop that wouldn’t it? You have genuinely started to ‘stress about being too stressed’. You are panicking that you have been damaging yourself over the years aren’t you?
The Silent Killer
It is well known that stress is a silent killer and at best it weakens your immune system and makes you more open to disease and illnesses. The good news is you can avoid the negative effects that stress has on the body by living a balanced, relaxed, healthy, happy lifestyle. To get you on the road to achieving that I’d like to share with you my Top 8 ways to dramatically decrease the stress in your life and rejuvenate your body after years of stress induced deterioration.
We Evolved to Have the ‘Stress Response’
We actually developed the ability to experience ‘stress’ as a protection mechanism. This ‘fight or flight’ response that we have built deep in our brains was designed to alert us to a potentially dangerous encounter with a predator. It is the stress response that would inspire you to take evasive action if you came a cross a lion in the wild, giving you a hormonal flood designed to heighten your senses and energy levels.
So how does stress silently kill us?
The unfortunate reality is that the same hormonal response is triggered when we come across stress in our ‘every day’ lives. For example, your finances, your job or your family. The danger occurs when our bodies adapt to operating in this state of high stress causing severe damage to our heart and cardiovascular system.
The consistent stress increase the rate of ageing within your body, especially your circulatory system when your blood pressure sky rockets damaging the walls of your arteries. Consequently, you increasing your likelihood of experiencing a heart attack, a stroke, reduced brain functionality and a weakened immune system.
A staggering 70% of people who visit their GP are doing so because of a stress related illness.
I presume that all of the above makes you passionate about reducing the amount of stress you experience? Take on all of the 8 techniques below and severe, life threatening stress levels will be a thing of the past.
1. Laugh as Much as Possible
Sounds simple and clichéd but laughter really is a natural form of therapy. The power that laughter has on how happy and relaxed we feel is massive. Laughter eases our psychological and emotional load, causes physiological changes that release endorphins and generally makes us feel more positive. Spend time with people who make you laugh, do funny things or watch your favourite comedy. Whatever it is for you make sure you make a conscious effort to seek out laughter every day.
2. Consciously Take Control of your Breathing
Stress causes tension and pressure. These in turn, cause shallow breathing leaving you low on Oxygen. Deep breathing exercises and in particular breathing exercises associated with Yoga are proven methods for releasing stress and enhancing physical and psychological relaxation. Deep breathing will allow you to get in touch with yourself and detach from the stresses and strains of daily life.
3. Make Time to ‘Play’
Research has suggested that people who spend their spare time playing with their children or pets drastically reduce their stress levels. This is likely to be due to the release of hormones that reduce the stress response.
4. Exercise Daily
Similar to ‘play time’, exercise releases endorphins that make you feel happy and reduce anxiety. Not only that, being disciplined with an exercise regime will allow you to feel proud and grateful. Two emotions that can’t exist in the presence of stress.
5. Make Lifestyle Changes
This could well be the most important part of the stress avoidance process. The main reason that stress is on the increase in modern society is because of our broad, busy, competitive, overly cluttered lifestyles. Realise the the things that are causing you stress in your life and get rid of them. Do you try and do too many things at once? Do you leave things to the last minute? Do you try and accomplish too many goals at one time? Stop doing these things right now and focus on getting things done and moving through life in a controlled and relaxed manner.
6. Aim for at Least One Good Deed Every Day
Doing nice things for other people and being a caring person releases a hormone known as ‘the cuddle hormone’, Oxytocin. Doing at least one good deed every day will stimulate the production of this hormone that is believed to relax your blood vessels and rejuvenate a stress damaged heart.
7. Control What You Put In Your Body
If you really want to avoid the high stress levels that could eventually kill you it is vital that you take control of your sugary food, fatty food and caffeine intake. Caffeine creates a surge of adrenaline, increasing your heart rate and potentially increasing the production of Cortisol (aka the stress hormone). Similarly, sugary and fatty foods can cause high blood pressure and also stimulate the release of the stress hormones.
8. Visualize a Relaxing Experience
Give yourself the 2 minute gift of closing your eyes and thinking your dream holiday destination or your favourite place. Really see the whole picture in great detail and really feel how great it feels to be there. This will allow you to totally remove yourself from whatever stress that may be present at the time.
There are many other ways to relieve stress, become more relaxed and rejuvenate your body. This is just a great list of things that can get you started. The important thing from this moment on is that you actually do something to release the stress from your life.
Make a decision to make your health, relaxation and happiness a priority and give your body the chance to rejuvenate itself.
I’d love to hear about some of the ways that you relieve stress and stay relaxed in the comments below…