Are you stressed? What practical steps can you take to help manage your stress? 2022 has proven to be a very unprecedented year and now more than ever, it is important to take a step back and look at what we are doing and how that is affecting out health. There is a lot of anxiety going on around us and our thought process can truly affect us in a big way. You can employ these following top 5 practical techniques right this minute that will help you to manage what you may be feeling, stress and nervousness!
To quote William James, “the Greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” Wow! As we see, the greatest weapon against negative thinking or our stress response is the power to control our own thoughts, the power to control what we are thinking and to change it, turning it into something positive. #1 Control your thoughts-resist that urge to fall down the negative “What if” hole. We cannot control what is happening at this moment or a lot of what is going on around us. But we can control what we are thinking and how we are processing the incoming information. Recognize when your body is falling down that rabbit hole of stress and anxiety. Try to stop and think how you are feeling physically throughout the day. Endeavor to get in touch with your body. Has your brain taken off on you and focused on the possible worst-case scenarios instead of focusing on what you can control? If you dwell on the negative, you will have negative results on your body. Focusing on what you are feeling in your body will give you a good indicator on what’s going on neurologically, such as if your amygdala is on fire or your prefrontal cortex is on fire. Think about what part of your brain is on fire and what part of your brain that you want on fire.
#2- Breathe! Breathing is the fastest way to control thoughts and reenergize the brain in a positive way. Often when in a stressed moment, you are not breathing deeply and in turn you are not providing your brain with enough oxygen. Take a moment and breathe in deep. Breathing in and out of your nostrils activates certain regions of the brain that helps you focus. Roll your shoulders back and open up your rib cage to get oxygen flowing through your body.
#3- Get that exercise in! One of the best ways to get deep breathes in is to exercise. Exercise creates endorphins. Exercising creates a lot of positive reactions within the body and brain. Exercise is a great distraction from what is happening in the world and really helps get the brain oxygenated. Attempt to get the body moving and the brain engaged!
#4- Get out of the house if possible! Try to get into green spaces and areas where you can disconnect. Leave your phone at home if you can and get into nature. Being too connected to technology can strain the brain. Being in green spaces, exercising or walking in nature has a greater positive affect on reducing stress and anxiety.
#5- Laughter! Laughter is the absolute top tip for managing stress. It combines all the above tips. If you are laughing at something, then you are controlling your thoughts. Laughter means breathing deep, oxygenating the brain, exercising, burning calories which totally and completely flushes the brain with positive chemistry! If you can laugh, laugh! If you need a recommendation, check out Carol Burnett outtakes about the elephant story. If you have a go to comedian or comedy show you love, watch it, and laugh! Laughter actually changes the brain chemistry. Also check out the differences between the male and female brain, hilariously told by Mark Gungor.
All these amazing tips you can employ right now. Search for your favorite comedy, take advantage of the power and ability to change your thought process. If you cannot control what is happening in the moment, step away. Smile and laugh. Disconnect from technology and read something positive. We cannot always control stress in our life that happens but we can learn to manage them by applying these great techniques.
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Written by Rebecca Younger | Staff blog writer