Stress Less and Create a Happier Life
It is hard to find a person, in today’s world, who wouldn’t tell you they were not chronically stressed. But what does that mean exactly? What is stress? Who causes or creates stress? It seems like we just think that stress “is”. But ultimately, all stress begins with a thought. And these thoughts spiral and create the perception of a threat or danger to ourselves.
Our brains are hardwired to keep us safe and are constantly trying to predict outcomes to accomplish that task. Even though stress thoughts seem like pretty typical thoughts, they can trigger a response in your body that you are in physical danger. When this response is triggered, your body is flooded with adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones increase your blood pressure, elevate your heart rate, drop your insulin levels and raise blood sugar levels. The body’s response is perfectly appropriate… if you were being chased by a lion. Once the threat passed, your body would return to normal. However, most of us are hypervigilant and continuously anticipating negative events, even in the middle of the night. Since many of us are in this chronic stress state, our bodies aren’t returning to normal which leads to a myriad of different health complications.
Stress must be managed and controlled. As Dr. Mark Hyman said, “stress is not something that is happening to us, it is happening in us.” Therefore, it is up to us to be mindful of our stress inducing thoughts and do our very best to mitigate that which is making us worried. Some things you can do to reduce the stressful thoughts in your life include;
- Be mindful of the thoughts you are having. Just because it is your thought does not make it automatically true.
- Learn to set proper boundaries for yourself. It is okay to say no.
- Stop procrastinating. Manage your time. Always give yourself enough time.
- Learn breathing techniques to slow your thoughts, calm yourself down and bring you back to the present moment.
- Don’t take life so seriously. Laugh often and have fun.
- Spend time with friends and family.
- Focus on the things in your life that you are grateful for.
- Create a mantra for yourself, like “No matter what the outcome, things are always working out for me.”
- Don’t make a habit of canceling your activities. It is okay to prioritize yourself.
- Find ways to be more efficient. Online grocery shopping, organize and declutter your home and office.
- Don’t let your brain create a story about things that may or may not happen.
- Spend time in nature and pay attention to the beauty that you may not have noticed before. So much is going on around you and it doesn’t require anything from you. Just enjoy.
Things may not turn out the way you expect, they could actually turn out better! If you learn to accept uncertainty and embrace possibilities, the stress will disappear and your life can become enjoyable (again). You are meant to live in joy!