Stress. It seems to be the constant that we can’t escape due to our busy lives, the news, and everyday challenges. If you’re like me, stress can sometimes take over, draining the mind and body.
While I do practice mindfulness, stress can be triggered easily by what’s going on in the world. And while I can’t control the universe, I know I can handle my stress by utilizing mindfulness activities. Listed below are my three go-to stress-busters that I rely on:
DO A MENTAL DETOX
I love the word detox because it means a good old cleanse! Many people do a juice detox to flush out toxins and bad junk in the body. Well, think of a brain detox as the same principle of flushing out toxins and junk that’s swimming in our beautiful mind. When this happens, I blast my favorite spa station, whip out a pen and my journal, and detox my thoughts and emotions on each page. Writing is the greatest self-care you can offer yourself. The act of writing clears your thoughts, brings you to greater insight and perspective while changing your mindset to a positive state. It’s simply gratifying. A huge aspect of my journaling practice is focusing on three things I am grateful for at that very moment. It may be food, shelter, and water, or my husband, daughter, and our healthcare opportunities. It’s the act of seeing things differently, particularly on days I’m overly anxious or stressed. Just today I had surgery, and while the stress of the procedure was eating at me, journaling helped re-shape my mindset by focusing on how grateful I am to have the resources to afford the surgery that will ultimately make me healthier!
BREATHE, BREATHE, BREATHE
While on my way to surgery today, I felt the stress in my back and shoulders. I took a moment to acknowledge my feelings, but knew deep breathing was the medicine of choice. I did six rounds of a deep breathing exercise that I call the Chill-Pill Meditation. I breathe through the nose for six counts, hold the breath for three counts, then exhale from the mouth six counts. Focusing on breath is essential for mental clarity, calming nerves, and allowing our brain to chill-out. A little spa music in the background helps, but is not mandatory. What’s mandatory is giving yourself the opportunity to relax, rest, and restore.
MOVE AND GROOVE
While it may be tough to admit, exercise is one of the best remedies to reduce stress. According to the Mayo Clinic, any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management. Exercise increases your endorphins (the happy hormone) and enhances your energy while rewiring your mindset to a positive state. So, next time you’re feeling low, get out in nature and take a walk, go for a swim, hop into a yoga class or just get up and dance, and experience a radical shift in perception.
In life, we will be faced with stress, but it’s how we approach it that ultimately matters. These stress-busters will allow you the time to process and heal while ensuring the self-care you deserve.