Most of us feel stressed or overwhelmed at some point in our lives. Stress may come from work, family obligations, or even something as simple as a traffic jam.
Stress can make it difficult to sleep well and have the energy we need for daily life. Many people try to handle stress by drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, overeating, or using drugs – these are unhealthy coping mechanisms that only worsen the problem. While these may be effective short-term solutions, they nevertheless create the means for further stress and dis-ease to evolve. Let’s face it; Stress is the number one reason many will visit their doctor’s office each year!
In this blog post, I want to talk about how emotional wellness derives from knowing what is and is not under our control. We will define stress, understand how it manifests, and better identify its sources to create a proactive approach to our emotional wellness factor. Lastly, we will explore a few stress management techniques, breaking them down in practical ways to see how we can navigate stressful situations to create an attitude of gratitude for the lessons present in any stress-causing event.
Stress is the body’s natural response to any demand. Stress can be acute or chronic. It has many sources: work demands, family obligations, trauma from a previous event(s), financial strain – all of which may lead to problems with emotional wellness. Uninterrupted stress can even cause mental health problems such as anxiety or depression. Stress becomes problematic when it interferes with your daily life in ways that are hard to manage. Stress can also cause physiological health concerns with sleep, digestive issues, chronic pain, heart problems, or weaken the immune system. Regardless of how it manifests, stress is the underlying factor of dis-ease and any derivative form it takes, whether physiological or psychological.
If we want stress reduction, we must be aware of the things in our lives that trigger negative feelings to see how they may affect us. By knowing how we manifest stress, we can change our reactions to or minimize its effects in our lives. Stress management comes in many forms:
- Meditation, yoga, and exercise are all great ways to reduce or manage our physical responses to stress.
- Gratitude exercises help us accept what we have rather than focusing on what’s missing. Being grateful decreases not only stress but also amplifies the love for what is present in your life. As we know, gratitude is the key to manifestation. This incredible secret encourages our life to unfold in an exemplary fashion.
- Practicing self-compassion allows us to understand that everyone has their struggles. By aligning with others, we find our stories are not that individual in the first place. Emotional aligning is a crucial component in helping us overcome those difficult days where stress rears its ugly head.
- Lastly, we manage stress by taking time and creating space for ourselves. The most selfish thing we can do is to be selfless. If your ship sinks, what is the point anyway?
Do you exercise? Do you take time to decompress? Managing stress is about setting time to do those things that bring creativity to your life. Do you want to feel better? Here are a few stress reduction techniques broken down into a lived example that I believe can help.
How Stress Reduction Techniques Work
To address stress in our lives, we must know what is and isn’t under our control. For example, people may feel they have no choice when their boss, loved one, or friend criticizes their work or shows a general lack of caring. What can you do?
- Talk about how the stress may be affecting you with someone you trust. A different friend, loved one, co-worker, or even a professional (therapist) can help you minimize stress’s effects on your emotional wellbeing. Just talking about it will lift some of the weight off of your shoulders, and even if no clear solution presents itself, you at least got a little bit of the stress off of your chest.
- We can lessen the effects of Stressful situations by taking space for ourselves. For instance, you may want to take a break from work during the day and go for a walk – this will help reduce your stress levels, regulate your breathing, and clear your mind. Sometimes just a minute of meditative breathing can re-focus the mind with a more precise focus on details needed to push through the end of any project. Lastly, we must exercise. Whether it be Yoga, meditation, running, walking, or another form of exerxise, get your body moving. Stress dissipates with appropriate breathing, a practice that brings the body into harmony with itself. Do this for a few weeks, and tell me if the stress levels decrease.
- We can also reduce stress by practicing gratitude. Being grateful fosters an attitude of appreciation rather than an attachment to striving. We practice from a state of arrival by letting go of our emotional attachments to ideas and things that no longer work. Say goodbye to the material and internal status symbols that once were the primary source of your stress. By doing so, you will find yourself more aligned with the practice of an emotionally mindful state of wellbeing.
By knowing what is and is not in your control, you develop better habits around emotional wellness. Managing stress is a significant aspect of finding your wellness factor.
Stress management comes in many forms. To manage stress, we must first know from what sources it manifests. By understanding what triggers stress, we are better equipped with specific stress-reducing life skills to handle it in the future! With this understanding, we can begin to know the ways our body functionally adapts to its presence in our lives.
In my opinion, knowing what is and is not under our control is the key to emotional wellness. Once we know, we can employ stress reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, exercise, gratitude, prayer, and self-compassion to reduce or manage our physical and emotional responses to stress. Understanding is critical to better equip yourself with healthy lifestyle skills that lead to emotional wellness. Take time for yourself, frequently move (exercise), and engage in habits that bring you joy and wellbeing. Most of all, be true to yourself; you ultimately know what is suitable for your path moving forward.
What factors are in your control? What factors are not in your power? What can you give up today to make time to create less stressful factors in your life that foster emotional wellness?
Stress reduction and management is a lifelong process. With these tips, I hope you’ll feel better about the journey you take towards optimal health and wellbeing!
As always, Namaste, my friends. May blessings find you on your journey to living a stress-free life and advance confidently in the direction of your dreams.