Stress management has become a huge topic in my life over the last few years.
When we’re young, most of us don’t even think about things like blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, or dementia.
However, those maladies I just mentioned are just a few of several health problems that have been scientifically proven to result from poorly managed stress levels.
Dr. Joe Mercola is a controversial character, but he always backs everything he says up by providing the science behind it. Check out this startling post he did describing biological stress and how it’s evolved from a survival response into possibly the most prolific killer of man and womankind ever to exist in our history.
This is a rather long video, but if you’ve never studied what I’ll call “Stress Science” check it out or add it to your favorites or watch later list:
If you don’t care about your long term health, but do care about productivity in your life, you’ll note from Dr. Mercola’s post and the video above that poor concentration and memory loss are among the major complications of unmanaged stress.
Trouble is, few of us will ever realize what information we actually lost as a result of this silent thief that robs us of so much…
Could it have been worth a million dollars? Perhaps the key to finally landing that unrequited love you long for?…
Let’s move on to a few simple things you can do to manage stress better:
1. Learn how to breathe…
I have a funny feeling many of you who read this will thank me one day for this, the most sage stress-busting advice you’ll ever read. Next time you’re in the throes of an internal struggle resulting from work or life-related stress I want all of you to take a couple of minutes and really assess how you’re breathing.
Is it deep? Shallow? Fast? Deep is the only way to go if you want to stay calm and productive. Heck, if you want to live a long happy life you need to breathe lots of oxygen.
I like to practice the “4-7-8” when stress starts to get in the way:
- 4 — Each inhalation should take 4 seconds.
- 7 — Hold each breath in for 7 seconds.
- 8 — Each exhalation needs to last 8 seconds.
Trust me. This can make a huge difference to your stress levels.
Do you have panic attacks but never took the time to seek professional advice on how to deal? The 4-7-8 can be your best friend.
Watch this video from Dr. Andrew Weil on how to maximize this technique:
I believe the timing is most important, but I also practice putting the top of my tongue on the roof of my mouth as he describes. The forceful exhale is supposed to help expel more carbon dioxide and restore the delicate 02/Co2 balance in our blood.
2. Mind your thoughts…
Look for Eckhart Tolle’s book “The Power of Now” — it’s a great read about separating oneself from the voices in your head. Essentially, just as “you are what you eat,” most of also “are what we think.” Though, Tolle and many other great spiritual visionaries like Deepak Chopra and late Qijong grand-master Yu Yongnian; believe we are in fact not our thoughts, but that our thoughts mistakenly become who we end up being.
These experts feel that somewhere along the way, our over-stressed race have stopped taking time away from our own brains so we may turn off from the world (and ourselves) in order to de-stress.
Few people are mindful of the negative internal dialogue that goes on inside their head every day. Though this might seem a little cooky to most of you, those who practice the art of being mindful of their internal dialogue and learning how to turn it off before it becomes a part of who we are, are the embodiment of youthfulness.
They live longer and happier lives. Those who don’t develop high blood pressure and anxiety — among other things.
Mind your thoughts and learn to meditate, even if it’s your own version of turning off and just existing without thought for a few minutes:
3. Stop being emotionally rigid…
There are so many ways one can be rigid — at work, at home, in life.
- Are you an OCD freak that has to have everything in their life lined up just the right way, else a lightning bolt or some other calamity strike them down the minute they step outside?
- Perhaps you’re the type of person who has a “freak out” button on their forehead that’s easily pushed the minute any slight changes to a plan or process comes up?
- Or in general, you just find a way to identify the negative in any situation, big or small?
Emotionally flexible people tend to be more at peace with their environment. And it’s a learned habit, though whichever discipline you tend to follow may have been developed a long time ago.
Check out this article on emotional flexibility and start taking strides toward being in a happier place ASAP!
Share your thoughts…
Main Image Credit: Celestine Chua/Flickr