“It is not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” ~ Hans Selye
A lot have been saying that I am a “half-full glass” of water type of person, I even chose that one during one of the seminars I attended years ago. And the Facilitator expounded on it as mindset of people who are innately positive.
However, I myself is admitting the fact, that handling stress isn’t my turf. I had turned to several coping tools to keep me sane with living all these years. So as to avoid being cracked by too much pressure here and there.
Did you know that there is even a non-profit organization specializing in Stress? It is The American Institute of Stress founded by Hans Selye, as a source of information and knowledge on all things related to stress.
And there’s also the “Stress Awareness Month”.
Storms of stress can come from how we respond to different things. That overwhelming feeling of not being enough or capable to accomplish things not just necessary but as expected from us.
Our responsibilities at home, outside home, our dealings with friends and relatives, at work or in school, undone things causing us frustrations, being burnout and anxiety, things and situations beyond our control frustrates us, disappointments, financial freedom, rejections, failures, the list is endless.
Lately, I have been consistently hearing that even kids are “stressed” too. And I really can’t move on with this thought.
Because as a child, life then was pretty easier. I recall myself wishing to be a child again and I hear it from other baby boomers too. Life was simple then. Like my only problem at that time was to get good grades to please my parents.
With kids now, it’s different. Studies show that as early as kindergarten years. There are pressures from academic duties, trying to fit-in with peers, comparing one’s life with another and access to almost everything including violence, crimes, disasters, bad news here and there because of social media.
This is why kids usually lack enough sleep. And we know for a fact that lack of sleep results into impaired thinking, slow reaction time, there is no focus, and rarely pays attention. This definitely affects a child’s performance in school, their productivity even their moods, making them easily angered, very irritable and of course, tired and eventually, sick.
Not to forget mentioning their sensitivity to what they see at home. They’re like sharks that can smell anything from a distance. If parents are facing difficulties, they can sense it, so we, parents need to be extra careful with dealing with our partners, better yet, take time to explain things to them and be transparent so they’ll understand. Looking at it on the positive side, it’ll teach them resilience than give them a false truth.
Personally, as an adult, I have established to myself several practices to address my inconvenience in handling stress. As Hans Selye said, a leading authority in Medicine: “It is not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.”
So here are some of those practices which per my research others are also doing, you can do or choose as you please, or whatever it is that makes you happy. =) Some of these are the ones working for me. Please read on. =)
Letting nature nurture me
Long ago, out of nowhere, I discovered myself having feelings of tranquility being with trees. Being with it, touching it, or just seeing one, makes my heart overflow with so many lessons that a tree symbolizes. It taught me about spiritual grounding or earthing. It links us to the source of energy, to the universe, after which we feel vibrant, tuned-up, realigned and literally energetic, ready to face each day with focus, gratitude and full of wisdom.
It is an ideal place to communicate with the Creator. #iflifegetstoohardtostandkneel
What are your first thoughts, when you think of the beach? Isn’t it so exciting, imagining the feel of the sand on your bare feet, and how cold splashes of water hugs as you go in the water. How about witnessing the sunset and waking up early to rever in the beauty of the rising sun? Nature undeniably gives us this kind of bliss. It is unexplainable, such a wonderful feeling.
I read this long ago and truly agreed that travelling does good for our soul. To be somewhere you’ve never been before giving us courage like doing something for the first time. It teaches us what’s it like in another place, city or country. We enjoy exploring what’s new to us, their food, their way of living, their culture and belief. Even the weather. To experience being in different places is so fulfilling it makes us feel whole and at the same time it humbles us. For me, It makes me feel excited going back home.
Allot quality time with family
Isn’t it so liberating to be with people who knows you as you, and being with them, it feels so free and calming to just be ourselves.
Create a Sacred place for your “Me time”
This could be anywhere inside (or even outside your home) like in the garden. This is where you just breathe. You can meditate in the silence of your bedroom, you can light scented candles in your bathroom while you’re taking a longer shower, you can read a book in your favorite sofa, being alone can bring out your creativity and you can create beautiful things, or you can just lie on your bed and listen to your favorite music.
I learned creating a sacred place for myself from Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book: Simple Abundance. It is really effective for me. It brought me into Scrap-booking, into crafting, cooking and even up to now, it brought me to learn and enjoy and even earn from doing bead works.
Reading books brings me places I haven’t been. Books make me dream and aspire to make them come true. Books guide me, it makes me see how to be someone else and makes me understand other people. Books let my mind flutter for a while. It is relaxing.
Not all of us can enjoy reading, some of us are visuals. Another option to battle stress if you’re not that fond of reading is to watch movies. You can do it alone or do it with your loved ones or friends. I recommend “feel-good” movies to watch if you’re in the process of de-stressing. Below are two of my most favorite. =)
You can shop till you drop once in a while. Purchase things you need (or want), for your loved ones and friends, for your home.
Pet a Therapy Animal(s)
Here’s a traditional list of therapy animals:
- guinea pigs
- miniature pigs
- donkeys and mini-horses
Non-traditional list of service animals you can pet:
- boa constrictor
Scientific studies show that interacting with animals increase oxytocin levels and decrease cortisol levels, both of which reduces stress in human beings. Dogs in particular can sense depression and will do anything just to cheer you up. You mean the whole world to a dog.
Unleash the Artist in you
I personally find peace in crafting (quilts and bead works). Some friends I know, paint, do crochet, create jewelry and do Scrap-booking. You can also visit Museums to appreciate Art. This helps us realize that each one of us is gifted and unique in our own ways. #thereisanartistineachofus
Call a Friend (Better yet: Meet Up)
Let’s face it. We can’t do without our friends. They are God’s gift making our lives happier.
Keep a Journal
Writing down your thoughts, your dreams, even your frustrations are forms of release. It’s a very effective tool to manage stress. Writing it all down, makes you understand yourself sooner or later upon reading them after a while. Listing down a “To do” list itself clears our mind and gives us a sense of fulfillment as we randomly complete each task from the list. It teaches us the importance of planning and fulfilling them. It also enhances our mental health.
Create a Dream board
The time we consumed in researching for photos to cut and paste, completing the list of what we desire to do within a year, and visualizing ourselves into a vision of actually enjoying it like it is already happening: is without a doubt helping us beat that stress we acquire out of a very crazy Monday, or a crazy week perhaps.
Flaunt that Vogue
To feel good is to look good. We all want that. #ootd Unleashing our flamboyant side. And in so doing, we become the best versions of ourselves, we’re happy and confident thus there is no way that stress can get in the way of that good vibes. We need not empty our pockets to do this, yes, we can splurge on a dress or a pair of shoes once in a while. However, we can stay looking good with the way we dress, however simple it may be. There are lots of sites out there which can help you do the trick.
Pause, Snuggle & Just Breathe
When everything from all angles is too much and overwhelming us? Just pause, or stop and just snuggle. Be sure to try this and do this regularly. The benefits are truly lasting to just breathe.
Clean Up & Decorate
One of the biggest stress busters is to clean up and decorate your home. It empties our minds as we focus on the act. It makes us forget things and not worry for a while. The benefits it does to our surroundings and abode is so worth it, you will make it a habit. Doing the chores or cleaning up and to decorate is like an exercise already and helps to release endorphins. It is an unexplained behavior that we sometimes find ourselves cleaning up when were stressed-out. There is fulfillment to look around and realized how immaculate and pretty your bedroom is, and surely, you’ll sleep better.
Sing your heart out (or dance)
Again, endorphins are released when we sing, it brings down level of cortisols thus we end up happy and healthy as singing improves our cardiovascular system (our heart, blood vessels and blood). Like working-out, singing does good to the lungs as well. It strengthens our throats and palate muscles, thus helps us to address snoring.
While when we dance, its’ accompanying movements, helps our body release endorphins too like singing. It is definitely a mood booster. No one danced and ended up sad. We all ended up happy and are with that biggest smile in our faces after dancing. Especially if we dance with a loved-one, it makes us more connected and intimate. I am considering Anti-gravity yoga too. =)
There are a lot of movies about dancing that I’m sure will inspire you to dance too. =) Below are two of my favorites:
Get that Massage
Aside from that relaxed, comfortable and calm feeling after having a good massage. It is undoubtedly one of the best tools in relieving stress. On top of easing away body pains, improving blood circulation, immunity boost and enhancing our sleep. With all those therapeutic benefits, we all feel better and rejuvenated after a massage.
Eat Healthy (And cheat sometimes)
There is no explanation necessary that to eat healthy, one improves blood circulation, lessen toxins that blocks our arteries, enables us to achieve proper weight management and all these sums up to reduced stress levels.
I know some of us are too lazy to allot time to exercise. Just do it. Hit the gym, run, or put that mat at home and DIY your workouts. Because the benefits of carrying out this physical effort is lasting and will certainly improve your health physically, mentally and emotionally. Again, there are too many links we can click from the internet of influencers to encourage us to just do it. =)
I can add more as the list is endless. It’s just a matter of identifying what works for you and you feel joy in so doing. =) A piece of advice, do the basics, it’s simpler. =)