Stress reduction for mind, body and soul
Are you feeling stressed? You are definitely not alone in this. is stress the epidemic of the 21st century. And because we are all affected by it from time to time, we need to know or learn how to deal with it - for example through stress management training. However, on a smaller and more private scale, we can do a lot ourselves to combat the burden. If we actively reduce stress or develop long-term healthy habits, we can even largely eliminate stress from our lives.
By the way, you can read here what exactly is meant by stress these days and why it is harmful to us.
Stress damages the body and soul, and changes our emotions and behavior.
Since so many levels of our being are burdened by stress, we can start reducing stress on exactly these levels - i.e. in body, mind and soul...
Mental stress reduction
Do you know when you feel somehow unbalanced but can't pinpoint the exact cause? Sometimes I have days where I feel uninspired and not really motivated to do anything.
This procrastination can also be an expression of stress: our inner self wants to move away from the things that we (urgently) should do.
From my own experience, I can say that when I fill my procrastination time with activities that stimulate my creativity, I am much more inspired and motivated to complete my obligations. This allows me to mentally distance myself from my stress for a while and at the same time gain a lot of energy to tackle my obligations.
Three things that help reduce mental stress are:
Put your phone away for a few hours or even take a longer social media break. We are pumped full of information via Instagram and the like and our heads are spinning. We can't calm down. Of course, it's easy to get overwhelmed and procrastinate. But cell phone use can make our feelings of stress even greater - also because we constantly see other people's “perfect” lives. Putting your cell phone aside and using your time more effectively can reduce inner anxiety and calm stressful thoughts.
Read a book:
How about reading a book again? Now that your cell phone is away from you, you can fully immerse yourself in the story and distance yourself from your everyday life. Many of my friends (and I'm not excluding myself) keep saying that they would like to read more and what a shame it is that they can't find the time for it anymore. Take your time! A study found that reading lowers our cortisol levels and improves our mood. Reading calms us down and helps reduce stress.
Practicing a creative hobby:
If you're not much of a reader, it's probably worth pursuing your favorite childhood hobby again. Creative hobbies have a variety of positive effects, and listing them all would go beyond the scope at this point. However, it should be said that hobbies such as painting, crafts, sewing, playing an instrument, photography, etc. increase self-esteem and reduce worries and depressive thoughts ( Reynolds, 2000 ).
Physical stress reduction
Stress is a physical process (more on that in this blog post). And because stress can have a significant impact on our body, it makes sense to reduce or reduce this stress in this same way. Here too, there are various ways to reduce stress:
You probably know people around you (and maybe you are one of them) who go running or do a workout to “clear their head”. Sport helps us reduce stress. How?
During physical activity, endorphins, our “feel-good” neurotransmitters, are released. Our mood improves, we can sleep better and feel more balanced. Sport can also be viewed as “meditation in motion,” in which we forget our worries and focus entirely on our body movements ( Jackson, 2013 ). As you can see, sport not only contributes to general health and well-being, but also to reducing stress.
Take a deep breath:
What if I feel acutely stressed and get clammy hands or a stomach ache? Of course, you can't start a yoga flow or pull out oil paints and canvas to relieve stress in every situation. Sometimes we suddenly feel overwhelmed by stress or find ourselves in a nerve-wracking situation. What you can do then: Breathe. Deep breaths oxygenate the brain and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. Our body becomes calm, the heart beats slower, blood pressure drops and the muscles relax. It is important to breathe deeply into your stomach and let your breaths be long.
In addition to taking deep breaths in acute stressful situations, special breathing exercises help to reduce and prevent stress in the long term.
Sleep is an important part of managing stress. When we sleep, our body shuts down, regenerates and reorganizes itself for the coming day. Unfortunately, you can get caught in a vicious circle because stress causes sleep problems. Those who have sleep problems find it difficult to cope with stress through sleep. However, you can usually break this vicious circle with a few tips and exercises. Routine comes first here. Bedtime and wake-up times that are as fixed as possible make it easier for the body to distinguish between being awake and sleeping. You should also darken the room as much as possible, not heat it too much and use the bedroom as a bedroom - and not watch films or eat in bed. In addition, meditation and relaxation exercises can help.
Mental stress reduction
By mental stress I mean spinning thoughts and the feeling of not being able to turn off your own head. When an important decision or significant event comes up, we quickly “overthink” and feel exhausted by our own thoughts. Ways to reduce mental stress include:
I hope I'm not annoying you by repeatedly mentioning meditation on this blog. But the fact is that meditation has numerous positive effects - also in terms of stress reduction. As early as 1992, Kabat-Zinn et. al. that regular meditation helps reduce anxiety and negative thoughts. A nice side effect of meditation is the state of relaxation that occurs automatically. So it can really be worthwhile to meditate regularly - for acute coping, but also preventatively.
Go for a stroll:
You probably know the calming effect that nature can have on all of us. We feel more relaxed and happier in the countryside than in the city ( Berry & Okulicz-Kozaryn, 2013 ). Walking can reduce chronic stress and is also a form of moving meditation. The swirling thoughts often seem to rearrange themselves while taking a walk. Or you can switch off completely for a while and take in the beauty of your surroundings - but without your cell phone, please
To take a bath:
A hot bath after a strenuous day not only cleanses our bodies, but also our minds. Bathing relaxes us and the water feels pleasantly warm on our skin. The warm water releases endorphins on our skin. By the way, bathing also reduces our blood pressure and improves our breathing.
If you would like to find out more about the topics of mindfulness, healthy eating or sustainability, take a look here over.