There are things in life that you cannot control and to do otherwise will result to you being stressed all the time. So much has been said about stress, but really what is it? Let's go back to basics. Stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.*
Stress causes a surge of hormones in your body. When your body detects stress, a small region in the base of the brain called the hypothalamus reacts by stimulating the body to produce hormones that include adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones help you to deal with any threats or pressure you are facing - which is called the 'fight or flight' response.
Adrenaline increases your heart rate, raises your blood pressure and provides extra energy. Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, also temporarily increases energy by triggering the release of glucose into the bloodstream, to help the person fight or run away. At the same time, other bodily functions which are not immediately needed, such as digestion, are suppressed. The body's response to stress usually regulates itself. As your hormone levels fall, your heart and blood pressure will return to normal.*
And by this, I mean turn off all your techie gadgets. Do not set it at airplane mode, turn it OFF. I can't even concentrate on my mindful readings these days if I do it on my Macbook so I go back to the old school paperback books and reading materials. It can be an hour, 30 minutes, your call. Point is, there should be a specific time when you shush the world and let yourself be in the present. This may sound so 1995 but your brain needs a rest from your endless feed scrolling. Easier said than done? I hear you, but if you really want to calm down and go back to the days when being quiet is achievable, we can all start with this.
Exercise releases happy hormones in your body. A perfect antidote to stress. If you hate going to the gym why not do a spring cleaning? Overhaul your closet or deep clean your living room. I bet you by the time you've finished this 'exercise' you'll have no time to stress and your sleep will be better. Another tip is for you to allot a day per area if that makes sense. Say, today you'll tidy up all your drawers and tomorrow you'll clean the fridge. Not only it's a healthy distraction, your house will be pristine clean too after all these cleaning!
Have a lie in your bath tub and just stay there for a good couple of minutes. Looking at the ceiling and re-evaluating your life is a good way to destress. The bubbles, the sound of water, the tiny ebb and flow of the current in the tub. I find all these very relaxing. Tip: Go get a bath soak of your choice. It does not need to be expensive (Marks & Spencer's are my favourite!). I'm so excited to try these bath soaks (£3.50 each). I just finished the Sanctuary Spa soak from Boots (£6.00). It's alright but Marks & Spencer's is better in my opinion.
Keep a Journal
I remember those days when diaries (or journals) come with a lock so nobody can see it. Now, everything is all over the world wide web! I still believe there is a beauty in mystery. Sure you can express yourself out there but wouldn't it be nice to read something five, ten, maybe fifteen years from now and know exactly what you feel years ago? I know the feeling and it's indescribably good. I saw my journal when I was in Schipol airport, pouring my heart out on what keeps me anxious and how did I address all those red herring in my head. It is like looking into the mind of the younger me. Sadly, I lost track of this for years. Now, I'm trying my best to make it a habit again.
So... this week, what are the things are you thankful for? This is one of the many questions we have expounded over a nice warm meal at Busaba Eathai, Kingston last Saturday. Whenever you can, have a face to face conversation with the one/s you love. Expressing yourself and getting a real time, human response is a good way to remove the tension out of your body. Tip: Make sure that you are conversing about uplifting topics. Life is too short to focus on the bad things. Our time here on earth has a deadline, and whether we spend our days happy or grumpy is in our hands. -CMK
Sources: BBC, Wikipedia