How To Reduce Stress In Your Busy Daily Life
Before I get into ways you can reduce your stress, let me emphasize the need for stress. It is imperative we have some sort of stress. It can be life saving. We need it.
If there was no stress we’d accomplish nothing. Someone’s internal drive is a form of stress. It’s used for innovation, exploration as well as preservation. The key is to have a balance of stress and relaxation. If you’re going to play hard you must rest just as hard to keep things in equilibrium.
Luckily in today’s society, we rarely have to concern ourselves with having too little stress. Heck, stress comes from everywhere. Your mobile phone, the weather (too hot or too cold, rain, snow, hail, humidity), exhaust fumes from cars along with other pollutants in the air especially if you’re in a big enough city. Rain adds stress to most people’s lives, so does traffic or crowds in public transportation. Lack of money is a big one and so is work and most types of relationships too.
The curious thing is your body has little concern for the source of your stress. It’s pretty much all the same to it. It needs to release some hormones to save your life, then once the danger is gone, other hormones to relax you and get you back to where you were.
The problem these days is, before you could relax, another stressor hits you and your stress hormone levels never get to settle down. This puts you in “over-stressed” mode for most of the day. Always in survival mode without a break. It’s the vicious cycle, which I’m sure you’ve heard of. If you’re in this mode for a prolonged period of time, your body adapts and sees this as normal so it uses up more nutrients in your system to combat the oxidation your body is going through. So you tend to deplete your anti oxidant stores quicker and without additional (or even adequate) nutrition, you start wearing your body down. You become more susceptible to catching the common cold, you feel more worn down, you increase your chances of injuring yourself, be it doing regular daily activities or maybe something more strenuous. Your energy levels drop and it’s a chore just to get out of bed to face the day.
At this point, you’ve “spent more of your life force than you have in the bank”. The balance is literally like a bank account. Stress is withdrawing money, rest is depositing money. Ideally you would deposit more than you withdraw so you build up a reserve for times of unforeseen stress (for whatever reason they tend to happen frequently enough.)
I started writing this post to give you some ideas on how you can fill up that “health bank account” and become more resilient to the daily onslaught of stressors, of which there’s never a shortage.
I can read your mind from a distance saying something like “Oh crap, now he’s going to tell me to do something MORE”. Partially, that voice inside is right. The surprise is, you may even enjoy some of these.
Let’s start with
You can start with 1 minute of solitude a day where you’re alone with no one you know around or even if they are, you block them out (it’s easier to be alone at first, just a heads up) You can sit on a park bench and close your eyes or in your car, with your engine off in a park or even just by the curb before you get home. You can do it in your bedroom or even bathroom (sadly that seems to be the only time we’re alone these days – as long as you go in their without your cell phone!)
This is great if you’re a bit more adventurous. It’s a sensory deprivation “chamber” where you lie in warm salt water for roughly an hour at a time.
Life Force Building Exercises (Like QiGong, Tai Chi)
The simplest explanation is it’s a type of moving meditation. You have specific movements, breathing and visualization all at once to build up your life force.
You do this daily anyway, so doing it purposefully to reduce stress involves only a few modifications, then practice.
This is a big one. Meaning it has a massive impact on some stressors. The causes of your lack of energy could be your food choices. Maybe even one or two things that create additional stress for you.
Avoid pro inflammatory foods
Drinking too little (and sometimes too much) water can be stressful. Although I’ve only come across people who drink too little and therefore get dehydrated.
Walks in nature
This one self explanatory, sounds simple and easy yet it has a massive return on investment. If you live in a large city, this is a really good “reset” for the daily hustle and bustle.
Doing what you love each day
Imagine carving out a part of your day to do what you love. Doing it just for yourself for the pure enjoyment of it. How would that make your day feel?
Reading can be very relaxing (especially if you’re reading something you’re interested in and want to.)
Avoiding the news
This is where I tell you to do less. Go on a news-diet. Avoiding bad news (since that’s all news seems to be these days) will actually help you feel better.
As “relaxing” alcohol feels, it’s the opposite in reality. It wreaks havoc on your system. Avoiding it for a period of time will lessen the stress on your body.
Going to bed earlier
This seems hard at first except you get to choose your pace. You can meditate any which way you like for as long as YOU are comfortable with. 1 minute is a good start. Just sit somewhere comfortable, close your eyes, breathe deeply and visualize your stress leaving your body.
What’s your favourite way to relieve stress? Comment below.