Stress is one of the biggest threats to our health today, so today I want to share with you why reducing stress is one of the best things you can do for your health 🙏✨
Stress hormones can be good in small amounts, and they have been essential for the human survival over many years. These hormones are the same ones that trigger your body’s “fight or flight” response. Many years ago when humans lived in the wild, this was absolutely necessary if a wild, dangerous animal came along their way. They needed this in order to survive. The stress hormone response was made to protect your body in an emergency by preparing it to react quickly.
But nowadays, most of us live in safe, comfortable places and you would think that we would never really need these stress hormone responses anymore. But that is far from the truth, in today’s environment we create stress in our own bodies by all the to-do’s and deadlines that we create for ourself. We stress ourself up by creating endless to-do lists, or we get stressed at work, or by all the things we want to do in our home or with our family. And even though not getting everything done on your to-do list is essential for your survival, our bodies have a hard time recognising the difference between the necessary-survival stress and our everyday-build-up-stress.
As mentioned earlier, stress in small amounts does no harm to our body. But when we are exposed to this continuous stress day in and out over a longer period of time, this is when it starts to affect our health negatively.
Stress over a longer period of time harm your body in many ways, it can: lead to increased depression, headaches, heartburn, insomnia, a weakened immune system, rapid breathing, high blood sugar, risk of heart attack, pounding heart, high blood pressure, stomachache, fertility problems (no wonder so many people today have problems getting pregnant), low sex drive, missed periods, erectile dysfunctions and tense muscles. The list is long. Stress is not something we should take lightly, it affects your entire health.
5 Ways to Reduce Stress
- Spend more time in nature
Preferably without your phone, or at least put it on airplane mode. The small sounds from a new notification, text message or a call can be enough for your body to start getting stressed. So spend more time in nature without being connected to the outside world. Breathe in the fresh air. Watch the beautiful trees and plants. Soak in the sunshine. Get grounded.
Meditation is one of the best ways to calm your mind and nervous system. Meditation can be so hard at first, if you’ve never done it before. Start slow, like with all things in life. Try 5 minutes in the morning at first, then you can always increase the time. Just sit comfortably, close your eyes and breathe. If you find it too hard to just sit in complete silence, I can recommend either to find a guided meditation (there are so many on youtube), or to listen to some calming music (try to search for ‘binaural beats’ on youtube and you’ll find so much calming music)
- Minimise your to-do list
One of the things that can really create continuous stress in the body is our endless to-do lists. And man, am I guilty of this one myself. I always have TONS of things I want to do and not forget etc. So I legit write everything down. But I’m learning more and more, that having a thousand things on my to-do list only makes me keep disappointing myself when I then don’t get them all done in the day. Instead I’m actively trying to work on minimising my to-do’s for each day. I try to write down the 3 most important task of the day, and then everything else I get done is just a plus. Funny thing is, it’s often when we get those bigger tasks done first, that we get extra motivated and then actually end up accomplishing so much more
Writing down your thoughts, both good and bad, your worries, all the things you want to do etc. is such a good way to reduce stress. Perhaps you know the feeling of thinking of something at night when you’re about to go to sleep, and you just don’t want to forget that thought or idea, so you just can’t fall asleep? I know this feeling, which is why I’ve learned that as soon as an important thought or idea pops up in my head, I just write it down right away. Whether that be in a notebook or in the notes in my phone. Then I don’t have to worry about forgetting it, and at the same time, I can get it out of my head. The same goes for things you worry about, sometimes just writing it out, and being completely honest with yourself, can take away all the worry and stress about something
- Change the way you look at things
Most stress comes from your own thoughts. You stress yourself because you’ve put certain expectations about why / how something should be done. Learn to change your mindset. I really learned this when I started working in retailing. My first job was in a shoeshop, and I’ve always been quiet a people-pleaser, so I would get so anxious and stress myself when there started to become a waiting line in the shop. I would think about all the people who was waiting and how annoyed etc. they must started to become etc. etc. I would work myself completely up, probably so much that the customers I had would feel the stress I put on myself. After a few months/years I learned that me stressing about the line would not make it go any faster, all I could do was to focus at the one thing in front of me: the one customer. Do my best to help that customer, and then on to the next. Not worrying and stressing about all the people in line. The same lesson I’ve learned about generally all things in life – by learning to focus on only 1 thing at a time, you not only do the job better, but you also eliminate stress about all the other things you might have to do. You can’t do it all at once, so just focus on 1 thing at a time
What is your favourite way to calm down & relax? Do you feel you’re good at taking time to relax yourself, or is this something you want to work on?
Remember, we don’t have anything if we don’t have our health, so remember to take care of yourself 🙏✨