10 Holistic approaches to stress.
The phone is ringing off the hook, there are 200 emails to return, pressure is high to perform well at work, endless errands and family chores pile up at home and a recent minor fender bender has busted open the piggybank! Even the most organized, visionary individual would be completely stressed out under these conditions. With all the corners of the world offering unyielding stress, how does one handle each incident in a timely fashion with grace, groundedness and a clear resolution?
A holistic approach to the stressors and challenges in life can help carry one through these insane times.
First off, try to remember that the current state of stress is temporary. Change is the only constant in this world and sooner or later, it too will pass. Take some time to examine each stressor and put it into perspective. Many odd issues come up in life, but it is important to keep in mind that they all have a solution, even if one is not readily evident. Begin by making a categorical list of the tasks that need to be completed and brainstorm the approach for completing them. This is where you can cut out the extraneous items and fully concentrate on the manageable ones. There’s also great satisfaction and emotional nourishment in checking the list items off later.
Second, call in reinforcements. Getting support from family and friends can significantly lessen the immediate burden to juggle stressful issues. Remember, people are not alone. There is always someone who has experienced the same or a similar issue and can offer ideas, resources and insight on how to handle the problem.
Third, take a really big, deep breath and then exhale slowly! Breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system to calm the body down and deliver more oxygen to the frazzled brain. There are several holistic approaches to calming breathes. Counting to three on the inhale, holding the breath for three, then exhaling for three and repeating is considered a square breath and will relax the mind and body. A more formal breathing technique called alternate nostril breathing (nadi shodhana) comes from the yogic condition and is demonstrated here.
Fifth, walk away from the problem for a short time. Removing oneself physically, mentally or emotionally from the challenge at hand provides much needed time to pause, examine the situation and act accordingly. This can be applied to all situations. For example, take a moment before responding to a negative email, count to ten before answering a challenging question or walk out of the room upon getting angry or emotionally engaged with someone.
Sixth, offer up a prayer or dedication for the situation. Studies show that having spiritual support reduces stress and improves well-being. A short phrase or mantra can offer calm and centering during times of trouble.
Seventh, get some sleep. Chances are if an individual is under duress, they are not sleeping well. Sleep allows for proper detoxification of the body and organ system healing. With too little sleep, the body and mind cannot handle the pressures as if it had proper rest. Consider aromatherapy oils or a natural sleep supplement to relax the body for a sweet slumber.
Eight, pamper, pamper, pamper. Paying closer attention to the body to reach a more relaxed mind is a proven route for reducing stress. Book a massage, facial, mani-pedi or body treatment to physically drive out the stiffness and soreness in tense muscles. Physical manipulation of the lymphatic system removed toxins and pathogens and increases immunity.
Nine, schedule some fun! When focused 24-7 on stressful issues, it’s easy to forget about having fun. Literally take some time to schedule a movie, sporting event, show or social gathering with friends, coworkers or family. Make sure to space it out though, to leave some personal downtime.
Ten, focus on the positive. There’s nothing like getting in a stress rut. The downward, negative spiral of anxiety, nervous thoughts, physical tension and emotional overload can lead to total burnout. But, there’s hope! Take stock of all the positive things happing or on the horizon in life. Whether big or small, there is always something to be grateful for and reminding oneself of that can go a long way toward victory over stress.