Feeling stressed is normal, we all experience it. Sometimes it's understandable, sometimes it's irrational, and sometimes it's all just too much. Our bodies have evolved to feel stress because it used to be necessary to get us out of trouble when our lives were in danger; for example, when we came face to face with large predators or people who might be a threat - the stress signals to our body that we should stay safe. Although today we have become far removed from nature our bodies still work the same way. An unknown envelope containing a bill, a news report or a phone call can all make our bodies freeze up. As a result of this, we can live our whole lives feeling a constant state of stress we are unable to deal with. So how can we help to reduce this? Here are some proven ideas.
One simple way of reducing stress in the body is spending some time in nature. In Japan, they call this a "Forest Bath" which literally means bathing your senses in trees and nature. Whether it's a walk in the woods or a trip to the sea, leaving behind the stress-inducing, never-ending, routine of work and chores while reminding yourself of how simple life can be can have a great effect on lowering stress levels.
Yoga and meditation have been proven to lower stress levels in multiple scientific studies. Both of these practices bring us back to the present, increasing mindfulness and lowering 'cortisol' which is the stress hormone in the body. Introducing even a few minutes of meditation or yoga practice into your daily routine can bring noticeable results.
Reducing screen time is another way to get those stress levels down. The addictive nature of technology is clear, but it can leave us disconnected. Constantly 'doom scrolling' through bad news, or comparing your life to other people on social media, does not have a good effect on stress levels. Try putting the phone down and connecting back to yourself.
What are the things you like doing? What are the things you're good at doing? Get back into those! Baking or reading or taking a long bath. These acts of self-love serve as reassurance that we're on the right path and that we can comfort ourselves when we need to. Don't take these things for granted, you've got this!
Anyone with pets will already know the amazing soothing effects that animals can have. The feeling of stroking a pet's fur can instantly calm you down, and in general, being surrounded by that loving energy that doesn't speak or judge can be a great recipe for stress relief.
So many people are dealing with stress right now, and you don't have to suffer alone. Remember to talk to those around you. Friends and family are there for you because they care, and they will be more than happy to listen to your worries. In some cases, even a therapist is a great solution to dealing with extreme stress. Sometimes we need another person's opinion to help us put things into perspective.
The way we treat our bodies can have really clear effects on how we feel. If you're feeling stressed, examine the way you have been living. Have you been eating healthy? Sleeping eight hours or more? Have you been exercising? What about drinking enough water? All of these things are so important to be on top of before we start to deal with anything deeper, so make sure you're looking after yourself. With a happy body, we have a happy mind. Take some deep breaths, you're doing great.