In small doses, studies suggests that stress has the value of kicking our immune system into gear and possibly even fighting potential illness. However, an abundance of stress left unchecked can create detrimental health issues – physically and mentally. Too much stress on the body can cause problems ranging from headaches and insomnia to heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. Emotionally, people with high levels of stress often suffer from overeating or undereating, substance abuse, anxiety and depression.
The next time you start to feel overwhelmed, try the following three tips and notice if you feel calmer and more refreshed:
It’s hard to imagine that something as native and simple as breathing can greatly reduce the negative impact of stress. Take a breath in for 4 counts, hold for 2 counts, and exhale for 4 counts. Do this for 1 minute or until you feel more present and less frantic. You can do this anytime and as often as necessary – while at your desk, driving or right before a business meeting.
Go for a short walk, preferably outside. Take 5-10 minutes and walk around the block, noticing the environment around you. This will help shift your attention away from stressful subjects, giving you an opportunity to consider them with a fresher point of view. If the sun is out, that short burst of sunlight will increase the production of endorphins and serotonin in your brain to give you a positive mood boost.
The benefits of essential oils are well documented. In particular, lavender essential oil is known for its calming and soothing aroma, proven to help headaches, exhaustion and anxiety. Keep a small bottle of lavender essential oil in your bag or at your desk and rub a drop between your palms before taking a deep inhale. You can also dab a small drop at the back of your neck.
So try out these techniques and see how close you can come to cultivating a stress-free life!