Wednesday, May 9

How to Deal With Stress

When I was younger I was an extremely stressed-out person. We are a product of our environment, and I unfortunately got this from my mother. I love her to pieces, but as a young child I would watch her get so stressed out about everything. Being late to a party, the home not being clean, money, us children, her job, etc. So I grew up that way, and believed that it was normal to behave in such a manner. It was all I knew.

When I got a little older I knew that it had to stop. I can't even count how many times I ran my body into the ground. It was my own doing, because most situations in life are manageable. We might not think so at the time, but they are. Unless we're fighting for our lives in someway, it's not worth it to be stress out. On that note, there have been countless journals published about how taxing it is on the body. Quite frankly, it can kill you. If you haven't already watched this documentary: Stress: Portrait of a Killer, I highly recommend you to do so. Perhaps it will motivate you to change your life. It did for me and there is no going back.

So we all know that stress is a killer, but enough with the bad, and let's focus on what we can do to deal with stress so that it doesn't affect us in the future.

Here are 10 ways to eliminate stress from your life:

1. Be mindful about stress. - When a stressful situation comes around, take a moment to think about it logically. How do you feel and is it a good or bad stress? It's okay to be excited about a speech, but it's not okay to get worked up about being late to a meeting. Every situation is unique, so think it through. Relax the mind, and calm yourself. Life goes on; it's not worth your energy or well being.

2. Breathing. - Deep relaxing breathing is proven to help reduce stress and tension on the spot. It helps you stop, focus, and calm down. Practice breathing correctly. This is done with the diaphragm, and not the chest. As young children this comes naturally, but as frantic stress-out adults we use our chest to breathe instead because it's a faster easier way to get short bursts of air. This act alone is psychically exhausting on the body, so it's best to make this a new habit as soon as possible. It's as simple as taking a deep breath down into the tummy instead of the chest. Watch your abdomen rise and then fall with each breath. Overtime this will occur naturally and effortlessly.  

3. Meditation. - This is something that's new to me as well, but has already helped so much. Meditation is a powerful deep state of relaxation and helps to calm the mind. 15-20 minutes of mediation twice a day can help one to stay focused on the present, reduce negative emotions, decrease anxiety, lower blood pressure, and decrease muscle tension. I prefer to meditate in the sunlight poring through my balcony window during the early morning, and once more in the moonlight before going to bed.

4. Take a soothing warm bath. - I love baths! They're so wonderful, and are a sure way to de-stress. Light a soy or beeswax candle, dim the lights, put on some soft music, and take a dip. Also, consider adding Epsom salt and essential oils to the water. The salt will help pull toxins from the muscles, and the oil, depending on which one you use, will have a number of wonderful healing properties. My absolute favorite oil for stress is Spanish Rosemary. Even taking a deep whiff of this oil will help relieve stress. I do it all the time. "Rosemary Essential Oil helps to overcome mental fatigue and sluggishness by stimulating and strengthening the entire nervous system. It enhances mental clarity while aiding alertness and concentration. Rosemary Oil can help you cope with stressful conditions and see things from a clearer perspective." -

5. Get some fresh air and sun. - Getting outside can help so much. Did you know that we are happier when we are outdoors? It is in our programming. We are energized by the sun and our brains produces endorphins that make us happy. Exercise and being active also does this, that's why it feels so good to go on a brisk walk, hike along the beach, or climb a hillside. Also fresh air is exhilarating and our bodies crave it. Sitting indoors just doesn't compare, so if you have the luxury and it's a beautiful day out, take your work outside for a change. It will be awesome, I promise.

6. Eat good organic whole foods. Just like sunlight, fresh air, and exercise a healthy diet consisting of fresh produce and plenty of water is ideal to maintain proper health. When we are energized properly we feel like we can take on the world and nothing is unmanageable.

7. Make love. Sex is an amazing way to release stress. If you have someone to be intimate with don't underestimate how powerful it is. Sex is proven to boost the immune system, boost self-esteem, make sleep better, release endorphins which make you happy, and release oxytocins which makes you intimately bond with your lover. How wonderful indeed!

8. Get a massage. - Touch is essential. We are social creatures and on a very basic primal level need to be loved and touched. It's crucial for survival itself. It helps with our perception of pain, and our emotional and physical well being. Massage is a wonderful stress reliever and it satisfies the need to have physical contact with others. A lot of the time doctors will prescribe massage to elderly patients that don't have too many people in their lives for this reason alone. So treat yourself to a massage or have a loved one help you. It's more important than ever to get regularly massaged. I swear by it.  

9. Talk it out with someone close. - Call up a good friend or invite a family member out to have lunch. Talking problems over mindfully with others, without complaining or whining, can help put the situation into perspective. Hearing another person's opinion can be helpful, or sometimes it's just as simple as being heard. Sometimes we just need to let it out. 

10. Disconnect from the world. - Turn off the cellphone, TV, iPad, and computer to spend time doing something you truly love. Take the family pet out to play, bike, dance, garden, clean, paint, read, write, listen to or make music. Do anything that you're truly passionate about, because this will help dissolve away stressful feelings instantly.

After awhile you will notice changes in the way that you deal with stress. That something just clicks, and your life is so much better because of it. It happened for me. One day I just realized that I do not need to get stressed anymore, and if I did, I knew how to relax and bring balance back into my life. So if I can do it, so can you!

Love from Claudia

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