Stress got you down? Drained your energy? Or worse, still – ruined your sex life?
Everyone has to deal with stress at some point in their life. And unfortunately, it is something we can all count on. It is a constant.
But there are tried and true ways you can reduce stress.
What’s the Difference with Good and Bad Stress?
First, let’s talk about the two types of stress we all experience: distress and eustress.
Simply put, distress is negative stress, and eustress is positive stress. Distress often causes anxiety or concern and can be short- or long-term. Over time it can be harmful.
Eustress, on the other hand, motivates or focuses energy. It is usually short-term and is perceived as within the scope of our coping abilities. It usually excites us and can improve performance.
A typical form of eustress for the average person is the beginning of a new relationship. It can be uplifting, gratifying, and even a renewed source of joy.
The issue that we’re focusing on here is distress. Here are some techniques that are sure to help you manage distress when it rears its ugly head.
Ways You Can Reduce Stress
1. Do yoga
I know you have all heard this before…but it really does work! And in today’s world, you don’t have to go far to find a yoga class that meets you where you are.
Related: Health Benefits Of Yoga
An hour of yoga done a couple of times a week will help you in all kinds of ways especially when it comes to boosting your immune system, improving the quality of your sleep, quieting your mind, and managing stress.
Meditation does wonders for the brain and improves focus, concentration, mental clarity, memory, and mood. Even if you only do this a few minutes each day you will notice positive results.
There are numerous ways to meditate, either by yourself or in a group setting. Classes are often offered at spiritual retreats, churches, holistic health centers, wellness clinics, and the like.
That’s right. Get your belly-shaking Buddha laugh going. I mean, really let it out.
The therapeutic benefits of laughter are infinite. Laughing releases chemicals in the brain which stimulate the sensory experience of “feeling good.” This elevates your mood.
4. Play with animals or children
This is one we should all do more often. Among other things it helps to give us perspective. Playing, like laughing, also releases chemicals in the brain which help to elevate mood, stimulates the release of endorphins (which we experience during exercise), and the exertion can also be a great discharge of stored energy.
Besides, kids and animals tend to bring out the best in us!
Related: 6 Health Benefits Of Pets
5. Steer clear of simple sugars and stimulants like coffee
This is a vicious cycle. Our culture has made it way too easy and accessible for us to overdose on caffeine and other stimulants.
The more we consume these substances, the more we are susceptible to stress. It is a real bummer, but it’s true. Stay away from them and watch what happens.
6. Get plenty of quality, restorative sleep
Sleep helps us to recalibrate and recharges the brain. Though the mind remains active during sleep, it gets to take a load off, so to speak.
Related: How To Sleep Better In 4 Steps
Commit to making your bedroom a place where only sleep and intimacy happens. A dark, clean, quiet, tidy, and comfortable environment will maximize your time in the sack. When you wake, you should feel energized and ready to face the day.
7. Eat a plant-based, whole foods diet
Healthy eating makes for a healthy mind. Also, it’s important to eliminate processed foods at all costs. Buy organic or at least items on the safe list and choose non-GMO foods. You’ll feel the stress start to melt away!
8. Bond with friends and family
Our friends and family will always be there for us when we’re stressed, and more social interaction with people we care about will help to lower the stress of even the most introverted folks. Establish a sense of community and get support from loved ones.
9. Spend time outdoors and exercise regularly
Vitamin D is essential, and a well conditioned body adapts more easily to an ever changing environment. Get out there and get your body moving. Soak in the sunlight (but make sure you’re protected with SPF). The vitamin D from the sun and the endorphins from the exercise will help you lower your distress.
10. Simplify your life as much as possible
De-clutter. There is something therapeutic about downsizing. Keeping things neat, tidy, and organized not only helps you to find whatever you are looking for more easily, but it helps to lower anxiety, it is safer, makes for great feng shui, is energizing, and lends itself to greater periods of creativity and productivity.
Related: How To Declutter Your Home
Stress will always be present. Take time to learn how to cope with it when it does. Control the stressors in your life or they will control you. It really is that simple.
Mark A. Eisenhart is a sponsored multi-sport athlete, transformational speaker, actor, model and spokesperson for Warrior Force TM. He has appeared on over seventy programs including The Doctors on CBS, The Jeff Probst Show, American Ninja Warrior on G4 and NBC, True Life and Real World on MTV, NBC’s Grimm, TNT’s Leverage, several local and national TV News and Sports Radio programs. Mark experienced a life changing transformation after watching his father beat cancer to die of liver disease.
Photo by Florian F. (Flowtography)