Six Ways to Manage Stress
Six Ways to Manage Stress
Stress is stressful. Here are a few ways to manage it.
The casual saying “don’t stress” seems like a relic of the past. No one will try to tell you not to be stressed these days. We’re experiencing it from all directions. The news, social media, work emails, parenting, dishes, etc. If we’re honest about what stress does to the body, it’s something worth stressing about — like a snake eating its tail.
Stress protects your body in an emergency. It triggers your “fight or flight” response, which elevates your heart rate, speeds up your breath, and prepares your muscles to react to any present danger. At one point in human evolution, stress was a very useful tool needed for survival. In many ways, life was more dangerous back then with many threats to defend yourself from. These days, even though we have far fewer immediate threats to our survival, our stress response can still get regularly triggered. So much of the modern world contributes to elevated stress levels, including a high-pressure job, over committing your time, raising kids in the digital age, constantly being ‘on’ and connected to others, past trauma, loneliness, and much more. Stress can be a near-constant part of our lives if we don’t manage it. The health implications of steady stress levels take a toll on nearly every system in our body, namely mental, immune, cardiovascular, and respiratory health. This can cause issues with anxiety and depression, weight management, low libido, fatigue, and trouble sleeping.
These bodily responses make it vital to be proactive about your health — and in honor of not adding anything else to your to-do list (we don’t wanna stress you out), here are five ways you can be proactive about stress management:
Move your body, even if it’s just for a minute.
Moving your body increases blood flow to the brain and heart, which helps metabolize excess stress hormones and restore your body’s balance. Not only that, but the increase in blood flow can help you clear your mind and potentially view your day from a new perspective. You don’t have to run 10 miles to experience the benefits of exercise; go for a brisk walk around the block, stretch, or do a few jumping jacks! Remember, you gotta get up so you don’t get down.
Put a few relaxation tools into practice.
Fight or flight is essentially a biological response to mortal danger. Chances are you’re not in mortal danger when stressed these days; you’re probably in traffic or hosting your in-laws. To remind the body that this isn’t a life-or-death situation, you can take a few deep breaths that follow the 4x4 rule, inhale and count to four, exhale and count to four. Another great technique is to look around the space you are in and speak out loud five things you see. The key is to slow your body down and remind it that your reality is intact and you’re safe.
Practice healthy boundaries.
Boundaries can be as simple as learning to say “no”. Contrary to popular belief, “no” is not the opposite of yes. A healthy no is a yes to something else you feel you need — and that’s a beautiful and rewarding thing to practice when you’re doing your damned best to live a balanced life. Give it a try and see how it works.
Sleep it off, friend.
Sweet sleep is more than just an excuse to change into your stretchiest clothes and kiss the day away. It’s the most vital part of health maintenance. Many studies say it’s more essential than diet, exercise, and genetics. Quality sleep is where our brain and body repair themselves from the efforts of the day. Without proper sleep, our cells become drained from their normal activities and can begin to malfunction and become less efficient. When we close our eyes and power off the chatter of being a human, the systems of the body have a chance to reset themselves to be prepared for the next day to come.
Eat like you care.
A balanced, nutrient-dense diet does so many beneficial things for our health. It helps our body function better on a cellular level, improves brain function, shores up the immune system, lowers blood pressure, and helps remove toxins in the body. Stress releases cortisol and adrenaline in the body, and proper nutrition plays a crucial role in processing and clearing those stress chemicals from our bodies.
Try not to stress about reducing your stress.
When it comes down to it, we’re all just trying to keep it together, which can be a stressful pursuit. Ironically, the ability to keep it together as far as our health and happiness go requires us to hone in on managing our stress. That means taking care of ourselves shouldn’t be another chore on our to-do list. Fx Chocolate exists for this reason: to provide you with a delicious source of health and wellness that you look forward to taking. Hit your un-panic button with calming GABA and L-theanine in our Exhale formula.
Life is full of literal and metaphorical “traffic jams”. While we’re out here just trying to thrive and survive, life is sending us email notifications, in-law visits, parenting responsibilities, major global events — oh, and we can’t forget the 24-hour news cycle. When things outside of our control start to impact our health, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and take control of what you can control. Lean on useful wellness tools to help keep your head above water and a smile on your face, even if it’s small.