As I am sure you know, we all experience stress. Some of you know, too, that stress can be helpful at low levels – it can push us and motivate us to do more. But too much stress is just not healthy. When you’re worried about a huge project at work, your paycheck doesn’t seem to be stretching far enough, your child is having trouble at school and the air conditioning just went kaput, you’re likely to experience the unhealthy kind of stress. While I can’t fix your AC, I can offer you some healthy tips for coping with the tough times. Here are a few.
- Meditation. Everyone seems to be talking about meditation these days. It’s no longer something only practiced by monks. You can weave meditation into your daily life with ease. Try sitting still and emptying your mind for five minutes a day. Focus on your breathing — slowly in and out. You may even want to count; breathe in for four counts and out for four counts. Keep it controlled and relaxed. The more you practice, the longer you will be able to meditate. You may want to incorporate soothing music or practice with a guided meditation recording. Experiment and find what soothes you.
- Walking meditation. If sitting still doesn’t appeal to you or you just can’t seem to find that peaceful spot within the chaos of your household, try walking meditation. Just like in sitting meditation, focus on your breath, making it slow and controlled. Try timing your breath with your steps; breathe in for four steps and out for four steps. Start with a short five-minute walk and increase as you are able.
- Exercise. Exercise releases endorphins causing natural improvement in your mood, and physical movement helps relieve muscle tension, as well. Pick your favorite activity — running, walking, marital arts — and practice it regularly to de-stress.
- Stretching. The simple act of caring for your body is extremely soothing. Practice gentle yoga with a DVD or app, or just quietly run through your favorite stretches on your own. Stretching allows time for you to get back in tune with your body, while naturally reducing stress and eliminating tension.
- Journaling. Try keeping a gratitude journal. Choose to either begin or end your day — or both — by focusing on all you have to be grateful for. Taking time to focus the mind on positive things transforms our thought processes and gives us a more positive outlook on our lives. When you feel more positive and optimistic, it makes coping with the challenges an easier feat.
- Logging. If you are a more analytical person, you might prefer to gather data on your responses to stress. You can download a stress-tracking app or create a spreadsheet to help you identify your triggers. Once you’ve tracked your responses, you can create personal goals for coping with and overcoming your stress.
Stress can make your life feel very overwhelming, but there are many other healthy ways to help you cope with it. To create a personal plan for finding balance in your life, contact me, Karen David. I’d love to work with you to find your path to a more peaceful life.
A nurse for more than 25 years, Karen David is a Certified Wellness Coach and Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist. She brings her passion for well living and calm presence to empower others in health and wellness. Karen is CEO of Live Life Well, LLC.
This article is for informational purposes only. Practices, services or products described are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please speak with a doctor before beginning any new health regimen.