Many people seek help for dealing with stress every year. As our society changes it seems like stress is getting worse and worse. There is of course a good reason for this, we are not hardwired to deal with the stress of everyday modern life. Our ancestors living in vastly different conditions had to attend to things that were stressful because those were the very things that were dangerous.
In evolutionary terms, the people who did not get stressed did not survive. Unfortunately, we have inherited these bodies and minds that are prone to chronic anxiety. So what do we do about it? There are many different ways that you can cope with stress.
1. Try Meditation
One great way to cope with stress is to try meditation. There are entire courses and traditions like mindfulness based stress reduction that are dedicated to helping you cope with stressful life situations. Meditating can be a great way to help you slow down for a little while and cultivate some compassion for your stressed out mind
2. Learn Breathing Techniques
There is evidence that shows that making your exhale longer than your inhale slows down your heart rate and reduces feelings of stress. There are many easy breathing techniques you can find on the internet but here is one of my favorites. You can keep your eyes closed or open. It can be nice to place on hand on your belly. Inhale fully and as you exhale put your tongue behind your teeth and make a “s” sound. Exhale completely like this.
This breathing exercise works because it makes your exhale much longer than your inhale. It also forces your exhale to be slow and controlled. Doing this when you are feeling stressed out will help you slow down and feel calmer.
More and more researchers are telling us what people intuitively have known for hundreds of years: it feels good to be outside. You might take a short walk around the block or even just stand outside for a few seconds and breath in the fresh air. Allowing yourself to take a few moments outside like this can help you feel less stressed.
4. Take a Break
Especially for people with hectic lives and busy jobs this can be a hard pill to swallow. But if you are starting to feel overwhelmed you might want to take a short break. It can be helpful to remind yourself that one minute will not make or break your day. There are even one minute meditations you can do. Taking a break from something stressful can be a great way to get some perspective and peace of mind.
5. Do Some Exercise
One reason that people feel stressed is because they are physically uncomfortable. Millions of Americans deal with chronic pain. So, how can you deal with this without jumping to medication? One way is to do something that releases endorphins which naturally block pain. Exercise, especially cardio, released these chemicals which can in turn make you feel less stressed.
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