HEALTHY LIVING  |  8.10.18  |  by Gia Dolney

A lot of us are overwhelmed with life.  Add kids, and you’ve got a whole other level of stress.  But, this is where personal growth can come to your rescue as you learn how to better deal with life, even with a family.  And how to do it happily and with gratitude.  This post is for you!!  It’s about simple ways to reduce your stress.

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1: Let Go With Water

Let’s face it, showertime for adults is the one time during the day (other than sleep) in which you’re cut off from the phone, kids, and everything else.  Water acts as a wonderful catalyst for relaxation and letting go of control.  Many people receive inspiration in the shower and solutions to problems, as your brain moves into the subconscious and the whole body relaxes.  Don’t be surprised if you need some shower crayons on standby to write down ideas and a new schedule for the day that makes more sense.

2: Spend Time With Trees

Or any green space will do.  According Japanese researchers

… forest environments promote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than does spending time in urban areas. Even just a walk in the park or a five-minute nature break can have tremendous results.

3: Get More Sleep

It’s hard.  We know.  There seems to be an endless amount of to-do items when you have both work, personal, kid, and house things to worry about and get done.  But every wellness expert, and your doctor, will tell you that getting enough sleep is critical for reducing stress and also being healthy.  You’re looking at 7 to 9 hours of sleep that are ideal.  From the Sleep Help Institute

You should fall asleep 20-30 minutes after you lie down. Any sooner than that, and you’re probably too tired. Any longer than that, and you may be getting too much sleep. To determine that, though, you need to rule out anything else that could keep you awake. Anxiety, caffeine overconsumption, and sleep disorders could make finding sleep hard.

4: Have a Gratitude Practice

Okay, we get it, if you’re struggling with life and stressed out, then the last thing you want people to tell you is to be more grateful.  But, it actually works.  Books can help you with this.  There are a ton of books out there on how to develop more gratitude in your life.  One we like is “Every Day Spirit: A Daybook of Wisdom, Joy and Peace” by Mary Davis.  This book is a day-by-day story-based approach to gratitude.  You can also attend a local meditation class and request a focus on gratitude, or utilize meditation apps with gratitude settings.

5: Extend Yourself More with Love

Again, this may seem counterintuitive, just like the tip on gratitude.  But by getting outside of yourself is like a release valve on your own stress by helping others.  And again we’ll recommend a daily-practice book for this, which provides you with ideas on extending love to others in your everyday life in small but important ways – “Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges” by Lori Deschene.

There’s also more structured approaches to extending love, such as volunteer opportunities at church and in your community.  The advantage here is a support system that works together.  And you can gain friends through this experience too.

6: Listen to Happy Songs

If you’re feeling stressed out, happy music can give you a lift.  There’s a number of happy music or feel-good music playlists that people have created on YouTube.  This one is called “The Ultimate Feel Good Playlist” by Lona Yulianni

7: Get Exercise

One of the easiest ways to start an exercise plan is with a 7-minute workout.  Only a fraction of your day but with a huge benefit.  Here’s our recommendation for the right app to help you with this.

8: Meditate

Meditation has become a big deal lately.  Everyone’s talking about it, and the results are real.  There are lots of apps and books to help you.  But we think going to a local meditation class is one of the best ways, because it makes it so much easier with a guided meditation.  Your local yoga studio might have a meditation class.  Once you get accustomed to guided meditation and how it feels, then you can more easily venture out on your own.  There is something about a great meditation teacher who helps you be kinder to yourself with learning meditation that helps empower you to do it on your own.

From the Mayo Clinic

Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. Meditation originally was meant to help deepen understanding of the sacred and mystical forces of life. These days, meditation is commonly used for relaxation and stress reduction.

Meditation is considered a type of mind-body complementary medicine. Meditation can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind.

9: Walk the Dog

This tip is related to getting outdoors and among greenery.  But there’s also something about the unconditional love of a pet that helps to relax you.  According to the South Boston Animal Hospital, pets lower blood pressure, increase cardiovascular health, inspire us to exercise more frequently, make us feel less lonely, and help us live in the moment (instead of going down the rabbit hole, so to speak).

10: Eat Stress-Reducing Foods

Health Magazine recently reported that there are superfoods which help to reduce our stress.  They are –

  • Green leafy veggies
  • Turkey breast
  • Oatmeal
  • Yogurt
  • Salmon
  • Blueberries
  • Pistachios
  • Dark chocolate
  • Seeds
  • Dairy milk
  • Avocados
  • Cashews