Coping with the stress in your life can be challenging. You seem to be pulled in every direction, trying to accommodate others many times at the expense of yourself. Your first priority should be to take care of yourself. After all, you are the thread that holds your family together. We are intelligent and we already know that we need to take care of ourselves first in order to effectively care for others. But somehow, in the midst of overwhelm we struggle with “where” to start and revert back to our old habits.
Today we are going to discuss 10 brilliant ways to conquer the stress in our lives. You are going to learn “how” to put a plan in place that will combat stress.
These 10 somewhat unconventional yet powerful strategies can place you on a bright new path of health, wellness, and longevity:
- Begin to FOCUS on the present by putting the past and future in proper perspective. There is a lot of focus nowadays on living in the “NOW”. Being present and learning how to fully focus on living in the now can help you significantly reduce the negative effects of the stress in your life and here’s why. Often times stress is the result of overly focusing on what you cannot control. The past is simply the past, it’s done and over. Instead of constantly mentally rehearsing the good ole days or the bad ole days try to savor the lessons that you learned and grow from them. Likewise, overly focusing on the future doesn’t serve us either. It usually results in fear, anxiety, and worry about what may or may not happen. When you focus too much on the future, it hinders you from taking the daily action needed to make a difference in your future. Instead, see the future as providing the vision and hope that you need to take consistent daily action in the now. This mindset followed up with strategic action will reduce your stress because it tells your brain, “We are handling things”.
- Get a plan for your life that reflects your current season. Plans put our minds at ease and give us an overwhelming sense of peace. When we feel like everything in our life is out of control it causes a tremendous amount of stress. Although there are many things that are outside of our control, we tend to overlook the things that are within our control. Refocusing on the things that we can control and creating a current life plan can bring us a sense of calm and inner peace. We can find the time to properly relax because our plan is in motion and the stress in our lives is diminishing. Conversely, when we are just drifting through life..or constantly putting out fires, it just zaps our confidence and stresses us out. When creating your plan, bear in mind the season of life that you are currently in. For example, if you have small children at home, enrolling in a rigorous Master’s program 30 miles from home might cause you more stress. Instead, consider enrolling in online courses that you can handle while your children are asleep or at school.
- Get crystal clear on your goals. There is a difference between goals and life planning. Your goals are the huge rocks that together comprise your life plan. Your goals can actually add to the stress in your life if you are constantly coming up short and not really reaching them. The best way to fix this is to get crystal clear on your goals and put a system in place that will facilitate your achieving them. First, consider shortening your list. It is a documented fact that when we have more than 5 to 7 goals our likelihood of accomplishing them diminishes. Second, make sure that they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound, and I would like to add EXCITING) goals. When a goal is exciting we are inspired by it. It gets us out of the bed in the morning. Many times the distinguishing factor a between project and a goal is EXCITEMENT. If your goal isn’t exciting’ it’s probably just a project masquerading as a goal and no wonder it’s stressing you out and not crossed off this list yet.
- Reduce procrastination, distractions, and interruptions. Did you notice that I didn’t say get rid of procrastination, distractions, and interruptions? Why because real talk we all have them. When you start living your life according to a plan with your crystal clear goals in place, you will notice that you will procrastinate a lot less. Of course, there are those distractions and interruptions that can’t always be avoided, but because you are gaining more control in your life, the distractions and interruptions don’t derail you and cause the stress in your life to resurface. Suddenly what used to be a distraction or interruption becomes quality time with a distant friend who needs your listening ear. Who knows, you might even be able to help someone else overcome some of the stress in their life.
- Nourish your adrenal glands. Your adrenal glands are 2 tiny glands that are located at the top of each kidney. These often overlooked glands are responsible for a ton of processes in the human body. One of their biggest jobs is to help the body handle stress. They get worn down over time and can cause many health issues. When your adrenal glands are stressed, worn out, or worse, burnt out, they can’t help you handle the stress in your life. Practically everyone these days has some stage of adrenal stress, from mild to severe. However, there are some natural ways that you can help the healing process of these powerhouse glands so they can get back to the work of helping you handle the stress in your life. Some signs of adrenal fatigue include, but are not limited to: trouble losing weight, hard time getting up and going in the morning, afternoon fatigue, craving sweet and salty foods, moodiness and irritability, insulin resistance, thinning nails, sleep disturbances, brain fog, the tendency to being a night person, anxiety and/or panic attacks, gaining weight around the waistline, hormone imbalances and, a weakened stress response. Of course, getting tested is the next logical step. If that’s not available to you immediately, there are many ways to start the healing process. Ways to start healing include: Revamping your diet by limiting caffeine, replacing artificial sweeteners with raw honey, reducing or eliminating gluten and starchy carbs, avoiding processed foods and meats, and adding nutrient-dense healing foods like olives oil, coconut oil, bone broth, fatty fish, cruciferous vegetables, nuts and seeds, fermented foods containing probiotics, kelp or seaweed, and Celtic salt. Consider taking specific supplements (always check with your doctor first) and last but not least: REST.
- Discover quality supplements that are right for you. There are gazillion supplements on the market. Some are better than others of course. Typically some of the best stress-reducing herbs are in the adaptogenic family. Always remember to check with your doctor or natural practitioner before creating your supplement regimen. A few examples of adaptogenic herbs are ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea, Schisandra, and holy basil. In addition, you might try Fish oil, B complex, magnesium, vitamins C and D, and selenium. Lavender and rosemary are soothing essential oils that may also help reduce the stress in your life. Always remember certain herbs are not for everyone. Pick and choose which herbs, supplements, and oils are right for you based on your test results, and the input of a qualified medical practitioner.
- Develop a healthy eating plan that resonates with your lifestyle. We all have to figure out our food. Bear in mind that your healthy eating plan needs to fit into your particular lifestyle and your specific biology. One woman’s medicine might be another woman’s poison. Go on a journey and start to discover which healthy foods are best for you. How you should prepare them or where you should purchase your prepared foods. Start to notice how certain foods make you feel. Begin a process of elimination and addition depending on your overall needs. This journey should bring you joy not create more stress.
- Reset your circadian rhythms to ensure quality sleep. Although getting enough sleep is a vital cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle and essential for reducing the stress in your life, we are faced with a major sleep crisis. Some sources even say that sleep deprivation is becoming an epidemic in the modern age. There are 50 to 70 million Americans that report having some sort of chronic sleep disorder. In order to reset your sleep cycles, you need to start with your circadian rhythms. According to the National Sleep Foundation, your circadian rhythm is basically a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. It’s also known as your sleep/wake cycle. If your circadian rhythm is off your sleep will suffer. If your sleep is not optimal it will put additional stress on your body. Here are a few suggestions for resetting your circadian rhythm and taking back your quality sleep: If you find yourself having a panic attack at the thought of ditching your caffeine, try getting in your daily cup(s) of joe before 12:00 to 2:00 pm.; Focus on going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day, Create a bedtime wind-down ritual that might include relaxing music, a warm bath, essential oils, reading ( a paper book), and/or a warm cup of herbal tea.; Avoid heavy carb-laden foods, watching action thrillers on Netflix, and scrolling through Facebook or Instagram. When all else fails, there are some mild supplements that might help. These include magnesium, calcium, valerian root, passion flower, and the essential oil-lavender. As always, check with your doctor or trusted natural health practitioner first before supplementing.
- Move your body. This list would incomplete if I failed to mention: exercise. It’s really simple to understand. Exercise and other forms of moving your body produce endorphins. These chemicals in the brain act as natural painkillers and improve your ability to sleep, thereby reducing the stress in your life. Also when you are engaged in physical exercise, your mind is forced to focus. This may have many stress-busting benefits, including clearing your mind, increasing your creativity, and your ability to problem solve. When you know that you are improving your physical and mental health, you will find less to stress about.
- Surround yourself with SAFE people. SAFE people are those people in your life that you actually feel safe around. They are consistent and have your best interest at heart. When you are trying to conquer the stress in your life the people who you surround yourself with are critical. Read more about the benefits of SAFE people here in this article.
Life is too short, and stress can reduce the quality of life even further. Your health and wellness plan should start with reducing your stress levels. Nothing is more important than your health and state of mind.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you a victim without your consent.” She was right; it is, after all, up to you. Take charge of your life today by conquering the stress in your life.
Be well + prosper,
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