“…it is the condition that results when person-environment interaction leads someone to perceive a painful discrepancy, real or imagined, between the demands of a situation on the one hand and their social, biological, or psychological resources on the other.” Wikipedia.
Contemporary culture dictates that you’re going to be stressed beyond average at times. Economics and social standards make demands upon people that are sometimes pretty unreasonable.
Common stressors are responsibilities, illness, life events and adverse environment, and with longer working hours becoming the norm, some things in life are going to be ignored—primarily self-care and relaxation.
We all have stress in life—it’s a given that is included in the gift we’re given for being here. The problem is prolonged stressors lead to health problems for the individual. Common health problems related to stress include fatigue, irritability, insomnia, heart disease, hypertension, depression and other mental health problems.
De-stressing naturally may at first feel like an added stressor, but actively working to regain some form of control in your life acts as a de-stressor. Much of stress is caused from the feeling of one’s life spiraling or being out of one’s control.
Studies show that during moderate to heavy exercise, endorphins are released into the system. Endorphins are natural opioids. Regular exercise aids the body in expending ingrained stressors.
A simple fifteen minute breath meditation helps clear the mind and relaxes the muscles. Once it becomes a habit, you’ll find yourself doing this several times a day to alleviate stressful situations.
You time [no phones or computer allowed]
Take time for a cup of relaxing tea and a chat with someone you feel comfortable with. Go for a walk in the woods—anything that will get your mind off those things that stress you out. This includes family members and friends who are adding to your stress.
Everyone needs a hug
Research shows that affection and spending time with someone you care about is a natural stress reliever. Get or give a hug, whisper sweet nothings or just hold hands.
An endorphin snack
Capsaicin, a compound found in red chili peppers causes endorphins to be released. Next time the boss is yelling, take a quick bite of the pepper and smile.
Try a cup of relaxing tea instead of coffee. Chamomile, honeysuckle and passionflower help alleviate stress and relax the muscles.
Simple breath meditation
Sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Make sure distractions are limited. Slowly become aware of your breath through your chest or your stomach. If you need to place your hand on your stomach to feel the breath, that’s fine. Pay attention to how the breath makes the area rise and fall.
Some thoughts will invade your space and this is fine. Acknowledge them, let them go and come back to the breath. Do this for 15 minutes daily.
Late Bloomer is a weekly column written by Carla R. Herrera