In our modern world, stress is a normal part of everyday life. However, chronic stress can have a detrimental effect on our mental, physical, and emotional health. When we experience stress, our bodies release a hormone called cortisol. Excess cortisol causes issues with different parts of your body, including your cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems. Therefore, it is crucial for everyone to find healthy ways to manage stress.
Recent research has shown that meditation has amazing stress-relief properties, which is likely why it has been practiced for thousands of years. Meditation teaches you how to focus on the present moment, and mindfulness (the ability to stay in “the now”) has been linked to a variety of health benefits. Taking ten or fifteen minutes a day to just sit and be can have a tremendous impact on your mental health. If you are new to meditation, there are a variety of ways you can start practicing today. There are many books available that teach meditation skills, as well as guided meditation CDs and videos. There are even apps you can download to your smartphone or tablet that allow you to track your meditation progress!
Exercise is one of the best ways you can reduce stress in your life. Exercise has a similar benefit to meditation: when you exercise, you stay in the present moment, focused on whatever you are doing. Additionally, exercise naturally raises endorphin levels, the feel-good neurotransmitters in your brain. Exercise gives you a natural high, and also improves your overall health, which naturally helps your mood even more. Whether you decide to try Pilates, running, hip hop classes, CrossFit, or yoga, just get out there and move for natural stress relief.
Talk to a friend
When you’re stressed out, bottling it in and hiding it from your friends and family will only cause it to come out in other ways, such as through somatic symptoms like digestive issues and chronic pain. It’s best to express your stress so you don’t carry it with you for so long. Talk about your feelings with a friend and your burden will feel a little lighter.
Listen to music
Research into the effects of music on the brain have found that music stimulates more areas of the brain than anything else. When you listen to soothing music, it calms our brains and puts us in a place of rest. To relax, spend some time in a peaceful environment, listening to calming music such as classical or jazz.
Spend time in nature
We get so caught up in the digital world, we become overloaded with information, leading to stress. Escape from the stress of modern life by making a point to spend time in nature. Go for a hike, or just take a walk around your neighborhood without your phone to appreciate the fresh air and foliage. Reconnecting with the outside world can make you feel less stressed because your problems seem a lot smaller in the face of such natural beauty.
Learn something new
Stress is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you need to focus on it. When you learn a new skill or throw yourself into learning something new, you give your brain something else to concentrate on. Learning something new is invigorating and exciting, which can improve your mood as well. Think about a skill you have always wanted to acquire or subject you have always wanted to know more about. There’s no day like the present, so start up a new project today!
Our diets are often affected by stress. Some of us deal with stress by overeating, while others find that they can’t eat when they’re stressed out. Unfortunately, neither of these options are healthy. When your body is well-fueled, you are in a better position to handle stress because you aren’t feeling disgusting from overeating or “hangry” (angry due to hunger). Fuel your body with a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats like oils and nuts.
Visit a chiropractor
Many times, patients come into Schilsky Chiropractic for issues such as headaches, back pain, and neck pain, and discover a side benefit: stress relief! Chiropractic care has proven to be an effective method to reduce cortisol levels in the body. Chiropractic adjustments reduce muscle tension, a natural symptom of stress.
Ready to reap the stress-relieving benefits of chiropractic care? Contact Schilsky Chiropractic for a chiropractor in Jacksonville today!