Growth & Grace Podcast Episode #8
· Ep 8: 5 Ways to Reduce Stress Right NOW!
You have a client meeting in 10 minutes and you're stuck in traffic. Your car breaks down the week rent is due. You realize you have more items on your to-do list than any human could possibly accomplish. The dishes are piling up, everyone is asking what’s for dinner and you haven’t had a moment to yourself in days. Sound familiar?
Stress is an unavoidable. It’s part of life. And actually a little stress can be good. It creates in us some motivation, makes us alert, work harder and pay attention. BUT often times when stress becomes too much, it paralyzes us.
Stress can have negative health effect both physically and mentally. When I was a JR in college, I had a lot going on personally with my family. My grandmother had passed away, and my sister was going through a hard time. I was on a speech and debate team that was traveling a lot and I was missing class. I was working full time to pay my rent. I was dating a guy that was absolutely NO good for me. I was under SO much stress, and it literally made me sick. My hair start to fall out. It felt like I had the flu for several week. I learned the hard lesson then of how important it is to manage your stress levels.
SO today’s episode is going to give you 5 quick things you can reduce stress RIGHT NOW! These are things that work for me personally, but also a simple google search will give you tons of scientific research as well.
The advice “take a deep breath” may seem like a cliché, but it’s so true when it comes to stress. For centuries, Buddhist monks have been conscious of deliberate breathing during meditation.
While shallow breathing causes stress, deep breathing oxygenates your blood, helps center your body, and clears your mind. Taking a deep breath has been shown to lower cortisol levels, which can help reduce stress and anxiety . Studies suggest deep breathing can also cause a temporary drop in blood pressure!
Deep Breath. Fill Up your lungs. Breathe slow. In through your nose, out through your mouth.
It can also help to use your affirmations or mantras when you’re breathing
Breathe in Peace, breathe out chaos
Breathe in confidence, breathe out doubt
Breathe in love, breathe out hate
Long term exercise reduces overall stress. So having a consistent workout schedule is important.
Exercise releases endorphins that scientifically reduce stress. Exercise also just makes you healthier in general, which puts you in a better position to deal with stressful situations when they arise.
But what makes stressful situations...well stressful is that they come up unexpected.
Do a little stretching.
Go on a 10 minute walk
Turn on a favorite song and have a mini dance party
My personal fav!
Getting your blood moving releases endorphins and can improve your mood almost instantaneously.
I know that laughing when you’re super stressed can be hard, but it is SOO effective.
Watch a funny youtube video.
Call a funny friend.
Even just thinking of funny things.
Have a go to funny movie!
A little tip is to have a note on your phone with links or stories typed out that you can read/watch to remember funny situation.
If you have kids, they are always doing funny things. Watch funny videos of your kid.
Laughter can reduce the physical effects of stress (like fatigue) on the body .
Laughter releases endorphins that improve mood and decrease levels of the stress-causing hormones. Laughing literally tricks your nervous system into making you happy.
A lot of time stress comes from things we have no control over, so doing something that makes you focus on the present moment...on what you can control can be really helpful.
I’ll have a whole episode on mindfulness so I’m not going to go into detail about how right now...you can do your own research if you are super interested right now, but essentially it is being in the present in the moment. Focusing on your breath.
Meditation Minis Podcast!
Highly recommend. They have little 5-10 minute meditations that can help you just recenter and focus. I’ve done these a few times, and sometimes do them at night when I have a hard time sleeping. SOO helpful! Helps me relax and just feel overall more centered.
Write it Out
Journaling can really help with stress relief!
Keeping a journal may be one way to effectively relieve stress-related symptoms due to its meditative and reflective effects.
A gratitude journal can really help us put things in perspective, so pick a time every day to write down a few things that make you happy.
Journaling helps us process things in real and tangible ways. It forces us to slow down our thoughts a little so that we focus on what we are writing.
Journaling has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and help process difficult situations. In many cases, even more than talk therapy.
And I was a counselor, so I’m all about some talk therapy! But seriously, journaling can be SOOO effective!
If you feel like your stressful situation is starting to spiral into anxiety or a panic attack, then close your eyes go through your senses.
What can you smell right now?
What can you feel right now?
What do you taste right now?
What do you hear right now?
Going through these things really refocuses you to the present moment and can help you center! And then once you start to calm down you can try one of the other 5 things recommended today
Go on a walk
Do a meditation
Do a breathing exercise
So that’s it! 5 ways plus a bonus you can reduce stress right NOW! If you try these out, let me know, I want to hear about it! If you are looking for some more guidance on journaling or affirmations, then I have two freebies over on my website that I think you’ll love!
As always, thanks so much for hanging out with me. If you’re listening right now, and you haven’t already left a rating and review wherever you are listening, then please do so! I read every single one of them, and they mean SO much. That is also how this podcast gets a bumped up to where more people can find me :) And if you do that by May 9th, then I’m going to be doing a surprise giveaway to one lucky listener!
A little Teaser
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we are going to be diving deep into some issues that impact a lot of people. I’m really excited about this series, so stay tuned for that that looks like starting next week!