Stress is a complex emotion. It’s actually more than an emotion. It’s a physiological response the body has to a stressor, and a stressor can be anything — our bodies don’t discriminate.
Types of Stressors
Whether it is a stressor we create in our minds (I don’t have time to do all the things!), put on our bodies (ex. over-exercising), or absorb through our environment (pesticides in our food or toxins from our plastics), we can’t avoid stress. So why not give our bodies a break where we can?
Three Ways To Beat Stress
While nothing on this list is going to be breaking news, it bears repeating because these are relatively easy things each of us can control. Even the smallest consistent change over time can lead to dramatic results, so give at least one of these a try and stick with it!
- BREATH: We breathe every minute of every day, so why not start there? Try the 3×3 rule: Choose three times a day to pause to take three full, deep breaths complete with big, heavy (and satisfying!) exhalations through the mouth. This will engage the parasympathetic nervous system and signal the body to neutralize.
- FOOD: Considering we eat every day at least three times a day, food is a great place to overhaul our health, but it’s not always that easy. Food is emotional for most people not to mention it is deeply tied to our social lives. Because a balanced disposition is also crucial for health, avoid completely overhauling your diet with too much rigidity. Instead, try learning more about your mind/body type. I love Sahara’s resources because they are thorough but more importantly when you know your mind/body type, you instantly have a list of foods to add into your rotation — stuff your body can break down with ease aka less stress. (Check out EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists to learn when to splurge on organic and where you can save a buck.)
- MOVEMENT: Don’t feel like hitting up that cardio-kickboxing class your normally do on Saturdays? Listen to your body. It might be craving some much needed rest (if you’re female, this is definitely true of the beginning of your menstruation phase). Try opting for a gentle yoga class or a stroll around the neighborhood (or through a nature center/forest if you can!).
While we can’t control all of life’s stressors, we can better manage our response to it and lessen its burden on our bodies. What will you work on first — breath, food, or movement?