De-stress Your Mind and Body
Do you do things in your life because you want to … or because you should? Are you paying attention to the signs the universe is sending you and the guidance you feel deep in your soul? Because we are so full of ideas and judgments about what we should and should not do, we tend to ignore the best advice we get—the guidance from our soul. what you should pay attention to … and what you should not.
If you are reading this, you probably have a busy schedule, which is one contributor to stress. When you have a lot on your plate, you end up hurrying through the day and multitasking, which will only exacerbate stress levels. Creating cushions in your schedule is a good tactic to reduce your risk for stress. Leave yourself enough time between getting from point A to point B—whether getting to and from meetings, classes, or getting from home to work to dinner plans—to help diffuse potential stressors that may arise that are out of your control. For example, if you know that you have to be on time to your 9 a.m. meeting and it takes you 20 minutes to get to work, leave yourself 30 so you don’t have to rush or get stressed out if you hit traffic.
Meditation is one of the best tools you have to counteract stress, and your brains bias to hold onto negativity. In meditation, your body actually releases stress and reverses the effects of the flight-or-fight response. This response was really intended to be a short-term mechanism to protect you from perceived danger, which rarely comes in handy nowadays. And the stress generated within you from the response can be harmful to your health.
Gratitude is a powerful force that you can use to expand your happiness, improve your health, and—you guessed it—helps you cope with stress. Many scientific studies, including research by renowned psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough, have found that people who consciously focus on gratitude, experience greater emotional well being and physical health than those who do not.
Taking annual vacations is really good for you. Ask your doctor: it appears that going on vacation may not be an icing-on-the-cake type of indulgence—it may actually be necessary for good health. But multi-week, exotic getaways are not always an option with the many responsibilities that come with life. Whether you have the time and money to head out on a European tour, or can simply afford a long weekend that’s close to home, yet away from the grind, planning a break is a great tool for reducing stress. Plus, it gives you something to look forward to.
Moving your body is important to combat stressful reactions, and prevent them from arising in the future. When you keep your body in peak condition, you feel lighter and more energized, leaving you prepared to manage life is stresses. No matter what your fitness level may be, the central key is simply to move your body every day. Identifying the type or types of exercise that you most enjoy—and those best suited to your mind-body type, or dosha—will be key to developing a regular exercise routine.
No one can deny the mind-body connection. But how much power does the body have over the mind? Research has found that even a phony smile can help you handle stress. So if you are looking for a way out of stress, you will need to smile more.
Are you getting enough Zzzz’s? Restful sleep is an essential key to staying healthy and strong. When you’re well-rested, you can approach stressful situations more calmly, yet sleep is so often neglected or underemphasized. The key is making sure you’re not only getting enough sleep, but that the quality of sleep you’re getting is restful and restorative.
Recognizing the triggers to your stressful reactions is an important first step in managing your stress. True, it might be impossible to remove life is stresses, but understanding the things that stress you out—and in what ways—is particularly helpful in solving the underlying problems. What stresses you out? And how do you react to it? There are a host of physical and mental reactions to stress, and everyone reacts differently. Understanding how it manifests in your life is the first step to finding balance.
Nourishing your body with the right food will give you the energy you need to tackle what life brings you, including stress. Every body has different nutritional requirements, and Ayurveda teaches us that dietary plan should be based on an understanding of your unique mind-body type, or dosha. If you are stressed out, what you are eating is a great thing to look at, as different doshas are triggered by different foods. It is important to make conscious eating choices with your unique dosha in mind.