Stress is a buzzword but we all feel its effects to some degree. Our bodies are designed to react to physical threats, as our ancestors would have faced. But today when the threat is not physical (such as financial pressures or work related problems) our bodies react the same way. Our stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol are released and we go into “fight or flight” mode.
This is great for running away from or fighting an enemy but not useful for dealing with modern stress. So we need to get out of fight or flight mode so we can be more relaxed and calm. In this state we can more effectively deal with what is stressing us.
It is also vital to remember that stress is not about events but what we make of events.
Here are three stress-beating tips.
- Do slow deep breathing. As few as three slow deep breaths in and out help slow our pulse and lower blood pressure. Regular meditation builds on this and you do not need to sit in a cave. There are guided meditations you can download.
- Laugh. This may sound obvious but you cannot feel stressed when laughing. Look for comics or cartoons. Watch a funny video. Read or listen to a joke. Look for the funny side of life events.
- Exercise. Physical activity helps discharge stress from the body. This can be running, swimming or whatever you enjoy. Punching a punching bag can be a great stress reliever, as can lifting weights. Do what works for you.