According to a December 2017 Gallup Poll, an estimated 80% of US adults experience stress on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, this is something that most of us are familiar with and can show up in a myriad of ways — physically, mentally and emotionally.
Common symptoms can include:
- Muscle tension
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Skin breakouts
- Lack of focus
- Heart palpitations
Natural healing techniques like acupuncture can help you to combat stress and find more balance in your life, as can the following simple steps!
1. Disconnect & Daydream
Have you ever come up with a solution to that big work problem while standing in the shower?
Chances are you might not have even been trying to solve a problem — yet suddenly a solution popped into your brain anyway!
After periods of prolonged strain, we need space to engage the rest and repair part of our Autonomic nervous system. This balance is essential for work and personal productivity.
When we engage this side of the Autonomic nervous system — known as the Parasympathetic side — we not only heal ourselves, but we also create space for problem-solving and creative thinking.
Yes, you read that right: this essentially means that you absolutely should schedule a time to “daydream!”
So instead of saving your “downtime” for vacations, why not create some space every day? Even a half-hour before bed or a quick walk on your lunch break can do a world of good when it comes to stress reduction.
2. Move Your Body
I often hear patients say things like “I know I’m stressed when my back hurts” or “I hold emotional tension in my neck and shoulders.”
Movement and stretching are some of the best ways we can combat this type of muscle tension. The bigger the movements the better; swing your arms while you take a stroll around the block, skip, do jumping jacks.
And, if you feel silly, let out a big laugh…it will only help your cause!
Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous to “count.” In fact, it should be gentle, fun, and bring you joy first and foremost.
Check out this article for a few easy and gentle ways to get moving!
3. Practice Forest Bathing to Reduce Stress
In Japan, Forest Bathing is regularly prescribed for a variety of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
The beauty is we don’t necessarily have to trek out to the Adirondacks, or plan a whole weekend of camping, to get in a little bit of nature.
Take a phone-free stroll at a local park, and stay present to all of the sounds, colors, smells, and feelings. Engaging your senses is a great way to reduce tension and become more aware of your natural state.
Doing this will help you disengage your mind and regain presence, ultimately helping to lower stress levels.
4. Edit Your Schedule
We live in a time where we have an abundance of people, activities, devices, and organizations of all sorts vying for our attention, time and contribution.
And yes, there are some things that aren’t fun but we still need to do.
But in our hyper-connected world, sometimes we forget a simple fact: we can say no to activities and obligations which aren’t necessary, and which don’t nourish our hearts.
Stress is actually a great barometer for this type of stuff!
If you find yourself feeling worried about a commitment you’ve made, ask yourself is spending this time in alignment with your priorities.
If not, maybe this is something that you can eliminate once or even forever.
In the words of Derek Sivers, Founder of CD Baby and author of Anything You Want, “If you’re not saying ‘HELL YEAH!’ about something, say ‘no.’”
5. Find Your Stress “Sweet Spot”
Sometimes, a little bit of pressure is a good thing: It can help us align our priorities, and propel us into our best lives.
But Some of us are extremely sensitive to stress, which means that they need more rest and repair, or simply different forms of it.
On the other hand, if we don’t have enough pressure, we may get nothing done at all!
Somewhere in the middle, we come alive.
Think of it like the tachometer in a car finding the sweet spot we can really assure you move forward and keep moving forward. When we idle too much, we stand still and if we redline, we’ll blow the engine.
If you are able to recognize signs of stress as an indicator that you’ve pushed beyond that “sweet spot,” you can start seeing it as a positive signal to slow right down.
If you want help reducing anxiety, chronic pain, or other health problems, we’re here to help. Call us today or book a free consultation.
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