5 ways to destress

by Rodney on March 2, 2015

5 ways to destressStress is a normal part of the human experience. It is a biological reaction to threats from the environment. It was originally a way of surviving millions of years ago when the human race were still cave men. Whenever there was a threat to their survival, such as from dinosaurs, stress would kick in. Chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol would flood the body, blood would pump to our extremities and the decision to fight or run was made quickly. This is how humans were able to survive.

Millions of years later, the threats have changed dramatically, but, the response hasn’t. These days the threats from our environment come in the form of deadlines, work politics, personal troubles and a range of other non- lethal sources. Since these are different threats, the action required is different ( you can’t escape a work deadline by punching your boss) the stress response in our body is not effective. This is why it can have negative consequences on us, such as hypertension, heart disease, mental illness, just to name a few.

This is why we need to o reduce the negative effects of stress on your mind, body and spirit. Here 5 ways to distress.

Exercise

When stress fills our body with adrenaline and pumps blood to our arms and legs, this is to prepare us for being physical. The only way reverse this is to be physical. Exercise is the best way to do that. If you can go for a run or punch a punching bag, that is awesome as that is primarily what our bodies are preparing us to. Otherwise yoga, cycling swimming, whatever you enjoy will work just as well. Incorporating regular exercise in your daily life will help you to continually vent physical stress responses.

Emotionally Vent

When we stress, we become emotional, again, these emotions help us with the fight or flight response by taking away our ability to think of alternatives. This was fine when we had run not think but todays threats need us to think, to reason, to generate ideas and alternatives and decide on the best course of action. Venting these emotions will help us to do that. You can vent your emotions by talking it out with a counsellor, friend, relative or someone you trust, journaling, screaming or even through art.

Meditation

Meditation has received more mainstream acceptance over the last few years. Originally thought of as “woo-woo” and only practice by people who engage in hardcore spirituality, it is now being practised by people from all walks of life. Scientific research is now proving the numerous benefits, even the US marines have found it can help to reduce PTSD in battlefront soilders. While there are many different types of meditation and different ways to practice, the heart of meditation is being still and breathing deeply. The breathing will help oxygen to flow into your body which will help you to think clearly and to reduce the adrenalin and cortisol. The stillness will help to diffuse the busy stressful energy in your body and replace it with calm energy and it will help you to think aswell.

Avoid triggers

Triggers are the events and circumstances that cause a stress response. While not all these triggers can be avoided, but you’ll be surprised by what can. While identifying what causes stress and avoiding it sounds obvious, it not always that easy to do. Sometimes we don’t what has caused stress in the first place. Gaining awareness on your triggers will help. Also, it may not be just one trigger that causes a stress response, it may be several, which we sometimes call overwhelm. The key might be reducing some of these triggers.

Gain a different perspective

Often when we are in a negative headspace, we start seeing everything that’s wrong with the world. We see threats everywhere and this will help to cause a stress response. Sometimes all need to do is gain a different perspective. If we can see the world in a different way, a more positive way, we don’t perceive as many things as threats. If we can see our threats in a less threatening way, the threat disappears, along with our stress. You can gain a different perspectives by highlighting positives or finding things to be grateful for.

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