Are you stressed? Chances are pretty good that you are. The economy isn’t growing well, those with jobs feel a constant threat that they will be fired and those without jobs wonder if they’ll ever work again. Add in stress brought on by outside matters such as a sick parent and you end up with a nightmare. These six things may help you cope.
Decide to Destress: As you are reading this, you’ve already taken that step. Before stress can be relieved we have to decide that we want to let it go. It isn’t as easy as it sounds. The thoughts, fears and problems circulate through the brain without permission sometimes.
Aromatherapy: I have seen this work. I have felt it work for me. The shortest nerve in the body is the olfactory nerve and it is hardwired into the brain. Some essential oils can help reduce stress. The best are chamomile, jasmine and lavender. You don’t necessarily have to buy the oils. You can release the oils from the plants themselves by rubbing them between your hands.
Beverage Choice: If you choose to drink caffeine you may also be choosing to further stress your mind and body. It is a drug even if it is in common beverages. It initiates the fight or flight response, and the first glass/cup or two can help you focus your mind better. That doesn’t help the stress.
It is also addictive. Eventually you won’t get the clear head until the third or fourth round. You probably won’t notice the slight blurring of your eyesight or the shaking of your hands. These are part of a caffeine overdose. In case you are wondering, yes caffeine can kill you if you drink/eat too much. Energy drink companies are being sued over this.
Breathing: It’s an automatic response. Even if you hold your breath until you pass out you will start breathing again as soon as that happens. That doesn’t mean any of us are doing it right. There is a tendency to breathe in a shallow manner. This adds to the outside stressors quite a bit. The brain uses by far the most oxygen of any organ. When it isn’t getting enough it sends out stress signals. You may not notice them but they’re there.
The answer to this is called breathing exercises. It’s a set of ten deep inhalations and exhalations. If you do them, you will notice at the end of the set you’re feeling better. There is a good reason to stop at ten. Hyperventilation is also stressful and that can happen if you continue.
Exercise: It doesn’t matter what it is and even if you only have ten minutes at lunch it can be useful. Exercise frees up our subconscious to work on the problems causing stress. It’s amazing how a brisk walk can refocus our minds and make it easier to get through the day.
Meditation: Most religions have some form of meditation. It may take you a while to find the right one for yourself but I use the 23rd Psalm. It has dropped my blood pressure from 140/99 to 120/80 in twenty minutes. It works best in a quiet, darkened room but it can be done anywhere.
If these methods don’t help or if you experience any symptoms such as chest pain, see your doctor. There are medications that can help reduce stress and let you function normally. As mentioned earlier stress can kill. Find the right solution that suits your body and your needs.