In our world of information overload, extraordinary expectations, catastrophes and more, it’s no wonder stress is wreaking havoc on people. Between the opiod epidemic, obesity numbers, and heart disease, it’s sad that while we’re one of the most developed nations in the world, we cannot seem to keep our people healthy. And make no mistake, this is a global crisis.
Here are 6 easy ways to reduce your stress levels:
That’s right, simple and easy. Take deep breaths, that’s what science says. Reconnect with the magic art of breathing. A simple technique that will help is a 5 second inhale, hold your breath for 5 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds, hold your breath out for 5 seconds, and repeat.
You can repeat 3 times for a 60 second breathing exercise that will immediately show results. Start getting up to 9 times through for 3 minutes and the benefits will amplify.
Did you know that laughing increases endorphins by 27 percent and growth hormone by another 87? (see this study). One of the greatest stress relievers is laughter. Go watch some funny comedy or hang out with an old friend who makes you laugh. Go to a laughing yoga class. Something to give you a reason to be silly. Hang out with children and make them laugh, it’s contagious.
I know, it can be a lofty thing, but it’s actually not all that difficult. The three fundamentals are simple. Sit with a straight spine, have an even, relaxed breath, and pick a focal point with your mind. Your focus can be the beach, the top of a mountain, your third eye center, anything that allows your chatty brain to come back to one point.
Eventually, all the distractions will slow down. You’ll become more peaceful. Allow yourself time, this doesn’t happen overnight. Meditation is a practice, but trust the process and you will reduce your cortisol levels.
According to the American Osteopathic Association, working out reduces stress by no less than 26 percent. So, yes, until I am blue in the face, I will remind you to exercise! Move your body 5-6 days a week.
Every day is fine too, but 3-4 days is not enough. The benefits are too great to go without. You’ll reduce stress, get stronger, be healthier, and yes, live longer. There is no excuse not to move.
5- Be Present
Take Time. When I’m rushing around from appointment to appointment, I try to stop and take an extra moment before I walk into a session. It gives me time to block out all the distractions and be present for the client I’m working with. According to a study by Washington University, meditating before multitasking reduces both stress and anxiety, and can boost your productivity.
You can use your breathe, any sounds, music, your sense of touch. All of those things will help you come back to the present if you’re preoccupied and unable to stay focused.
6- Build a toolbox
This has been something I’ve been doing for over 30 years. I realized long ago that if I wanted to live a great life that I had to string together a whole bunch of really great experiences.
Pretty simple, right?! Well, not as easy as it seems. It takes work and planning and consistency, and dedication. The more things you enjoy doing, the easier it will be to do things you enjoy.
For instance, going to the movies, hanging out with my family, going for a run, walking on the beach, making love to my wife, spending time with friends, going for a bike ride, traveling, my list goes on and on! Yours should too!
I’ve found that in my life, the more things I found that I like to do, the more things I naturally seek out that are enjoyable. Now I find myself moving toward fun things to do, thus my stress levels are pretty low. When life throws a curve ball at me, I can handle it with the tools in my life tool box. Remember, I’m always here to help.
Originally published at: Goodmenproject.com