Reduce Stress From 100 to Zero in Less than One Minute
I’m curious when greeting someone and asking how they are when they reply, “Good. Busy” there’s a pause and “Crazy Busy” uttered, finishing the thought. What are the factors in their life that makes it so crazy? Is it working long hours, rushing to get kids to their activities, worrying about paying the bills, the long commute, not enough sleep. I could go on and on. It’s in a stressed out world we live in. So much so that the World Health Organization refers to stress as a worldwide epidemic. Zika virus may be a global health problem, but the health effects of stress will affect more of us, more seriously.
Never mind the muscle tension and headaches most people suffer with from time to time, your stress level is affecting your health and productivity level. Eighty percent of all disease is stress related, meaning that whether it’s the common cold, heart disease or being overweight, your stress level is playing a part in your lack of wellness. Compound that with stress affecting your performance by creating, in simple terms, brain freeze. It can occur when your cortisol levels become and stays elevated for longer periods of time causing memory problems and increasing the likelihood of anxiety or depression.
4 Ways To Reduce Stress
If you’re feeling less in control of what you experience on a day to day basis, implement these 4 ways to reduce stress and not only be more productive, but have better health.
Take a Deep Breath:
Deep breathing is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress almost immediately, and you can do it almost anywhere. Deep breathing also helps to reduce muscle tension and increases energy. Imagine feeling like a supercharged Zen master! There are a variety of different deep breathing techniques that will do the trick. My favorite is the 4-7-8 technique where you breath in for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts and exhale forcefully for 8 counts. Repeat 2-3 times and you are done. If you feel a little dizzy at the end of it, it’s because your brain has been re-oxygenated. This is a good thing! As you practice more regularly the dizziness will reduce. Aim to make it a daily habit. Proactively relieving stress can be a part of your daily practices.
You Bring About What You Think About:
Charles Swindoll said, “10% of life is what happens to me, and 90% is how I react to it.”
Life happens. There are certain things that you can’t control. What you can control is how we react. Allowing a stressful or negative situation to ruin your day is a choice, not a necessity or reality. Pause for a second and take a deep breath before you react. Staying calm will enable you to make better decisions. Learning how to reduce stress is learning how to shift your thinking towards what you want versus what you don’t want.
Smile, It makes People Wonder
What to know how to avoid mental stress? Just smile. Smile, at your coworkers, your boss and most important at yourself. Smiling not only makes whoever you are smiling at feel good, but it can give you the warm fuzzies too because it triggers neuropeptides in the brain that reduce stress. Try feeling sad or stressed out while you smile. I dare you.
Implement Morning and Evening Routines
How you start and end your day has a significant impact on how to reduce stress levels. When you start your day by already feeling behind that is how you set up the rest of your day to be. The most successful people have routines that give them the time to reflect and determine what they want to accomplish that day. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy process. You could have your “Power Hour” in 5 minutes.
The same goes for giving your body some downtime before hitting the hay. A few minutes of relaxing, away from electronic devices and the television gives your body and brain the time it needs to unwind and slow down. The results? A better night’s sleep, which will increase your energy levels, improve your immune function and reduce food cravings.
Take control of your stress and you take control of your life. Enjoy more, do more by practicing these tips. You will see the results immediately. How you choose to let your stress run your day – or not contributes to your success and your overall being. As I said to a client recently, choose to stay stress-less.