Is it possible to escape stress?
Many of us daydream about how we could avoid stress in our daily lives: by dropping everything and moving to Hawaii, or perhaps by winning the lottery, never to work another day in our lives.
But the fact is, stress is inevitable. No matter whether you’re on a beach in Hawaii or sitting at your desk at work, stress happens.
This is why we teach people how to build a healthy relationship with stress through stress resilience.
Stress resilience means approaching adversity with a set of learned behaviors, thoughts and actions that allow us to adapt to stressful situations At a recent lecture in our Thrive! series, Goshen Health’s Sonam Desai, a Naturopathic Doctor, spoke about the five ways to build our stress resilience.
1. Use positive affirmations on a daily basis.
Positive affirmations can change how you perceive the effects of stress on your health. Examples of positive affirmations include: “I am present,” “I am loved,” “I am grateful” and “I am safe.”
2. Accept yourself where you are.
Stress is an inevitable part of life. Finding the time to engage in relaxation can sometimes add to your stress especially if you feel you don’t have enough minutes in your day. Accept yourself where you are and don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s. Experience the full spectrum of emotions that often accompanies stress, without any judgement. Tell yourself that it’s okay to experience what you’re experiencing and take at least a few minutes for yourself daily.
3. Connect with others.
Connecting with others during stressful times increases the hormone oxytocin, which helps improve blood sugar, blood pressure and heart rate. This can be as simple as making a phone call to a trusted friend or family member, taking a class, joining a club or getting a hug.
Deep breathing is helpful in managing stress because it helps you feel calmer and relaxed almost instantly. Try closing your eyes, inhaling to the count of four, then exhaling for the count of five, repeating for five to 10 breaths. Notice how you feel after this breath sequence is complete!
5. Practice mindfulness.
Simply stated, mindfulness is being aware of the present moment. You can choose to pay attention to your thoughts, emotions and sensations at any given moment and accept your state of being as you are, without judgement. Mindfulness is often incorporated into many practices of meditation, deep breathing and relaxation. Being mindful when you’re stressed out can help catch you in a habit that may only worsen your body’s ability to handle stress in the long run. For instance, many people eat out of stress and not hunger. Paying attention to our body’s sensations during stressful moments can help prevent a behavior that doesn’t benefit you from reoccurring.
Are you interested in learning more about how to optimize your health? Join us for our monthly Thrive! series on the first Tuesday of each month from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. at Greencroft Community Center at 1820 Greencroft Blvd, Goshen, IN 46526. Registration is not required. Please call (574) 364-2496 for information.
August’s topic is knee arthritis. Previous topics have included preventing coronary heart disease, arthritis and cancer screenings.