Oakland Chiropractor Explains 8 Ways to Calm the Stress Response
While some of us seem to be born with zen-like traits, the truth is that anyone can cultivate an attitude of calm. Learning to relax and let go will reduce your stress, and mentally prepare you for situations that require the fortitude needed to overcome adversity and conflict. Below is a list of eight different ways you can learn to create a calmer disposition.
1. Practice Mindfulness
You can practice mindfulness in a number of ways: meditate, go for a walk, or simply try to be in the present moment by observing your surroundings, thoughts, and sensations as you experience them. The focal point of mindfulness cultivation is to bring your sensory awareness back into your body and observe the thought patterns that creep in and out of the foreground of your mind. If you have trouble, there are lots of meditation apps out there that guide you through this process.
2. Take Deep Breaths
Deep abdominal breathing or diaphragmatic breathing increases oxygenation to the lower part of the lungs, stabilizing blood pressure and slowing the heartbeat in the process. This also invokes the relaxation response and reduces stress. Incorporating a breathing exercise into your daily routine will help you create a sense of calm and mental preparedness for the day.
3. Think Before Reacting
The next time a heated reaction comes your way, consider taking a pause. Wait about 24 hours before you respond to texts and emails. If you are involved in a confrontation, give yourself plenty of time to think your response through and try not to respond impulsively. This will give you time to process your reaction and understand the situation better.
4. Sleep Well
Sleep is so important. It only takes one night of less than ideal sleep to make any person more susceptible to feelings of irritability and stress, because sleep deprivation increases cortisol levels. Sleep deprivation also affects the body's response to pain and medication by increasing pain sensitivity and reducing drug effectiveness. There are a few things you can do to improve your sleep, such as avoid caffeine after noon, develop a consistent sleep schedule, give yourself proper winding down time, and avoid electronics an hour before bedtime.
5. Avoid Stimulants
If you truly want to cultivate calm, try to avoid stimulants, as they chemically induce a physiological stress response. Common stimulants include caffeine and tobacco based products.
6. Break Out the Journal
Writing can be very therapeutic for some people. Try carrying a journal with you. When you experience emotions that cause you distress you can "put them" somewhere. Or you can do a daily journal, writing a couple of pages when you first wake up in the morning or before bed. Journaling can help to reduce anxiety and also help you to see what triggers cause reactions within you so you can learn to better control them. Also, when we write down the same things everyday that cause anxiety, it's only a matter of time before we start writing solutions to these problems.
7. Embrace Uncertainty
"The only thing that is constant is change," Heraclitus, a Greek philosopher, once said. And it's true. Recognize that uncertainty is inevitable in this ever-changing world, and allow yourself space to be open and flexible by accepting the things that are outside of your control. Set some time aside each day to practice letting go of thoughts that you may be hanging onto, and soon enough it will come to you naturally.
8. Put Yourself in Other People's Shoes
Cultivating empathy is another great way of creating a feeling of calm. Oftentimes when we are feeling stressed or upset, we have a hard time understanding the perspectives of others because we are laser-focused on our own. By putting yourself in someone else's shoes, you can see how they think and react to the situation. So next time you are having trouble seeing someone eye-to-eye, try to avoid jumping to conclusions and instead try to look at the situation from their perspective.
While there are many outside stressors in our daily lives, no one is doomed to feeling anxiety and stress forever. It is possible to cultivate a sense of calm, and you can start by using the above techniques. Along the way you will find that some work better for you than others, or maybe you will find a brand new technique to keep your nerves at bay.
Is pain keeping you from feeling your best possible self? Give us a call at 510-922-1579, text us at 510-692-9948, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your visit.
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There are so many delicious recipes in this book to choose from, and they are simple to follow. Learn to make a variety of Mediterranean classics, such as tapas, soups, seafood dishes and more.
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