Stress is inevitable – and isn’t always a bad thing. The response itself is actually a very, very good thing because it protects us from potential harm IF we heed the warning signals and take action to reduce or eliminate the stressor. That is the purpose of the fight or flight response.
When we ignore the stress signals and let stress build up, that is when it becomes challenging and damaging. When we get overloaded by stress the anxiety can lead to relationship problems, low productivity, sleep problems and illness – all of which can lead to long term disease because of the extremely harmful effects that stress chemicals have on the body.
But if you can work little stress management practices into your day every day, the positive effects will add up and help you be happier and healthier today and over time.
Here are three instant stress busters that can help counteract the damage of stress and lead to a better mood right away.
1. Drink a big glass of water. Staying hydrated can help your body function more effectively and circulate stress chemicals out more quickly. Plus a hydrated body feels more energized and alert – and looks more vibrant.
2. Eat a piece of dark chocolate. Now I’m not talking a candy bar or Tootsie Roll here. Those are loaded with sugar and chemicals. Instead invest in a bar of pure dark chocolate or bag of organic chocolate truffles and indulge in one when stress spikes. Dark chocolate is filled with antioxidants that can help protect the cells from the damage caused by stress chemicals. Plus it tastes damn good so your pleasure sensors are stimulated in the brain.
3. Disconnect. Yep – turning off your cell phone, laptop, television and iPad can shift your energy in a positive and real way. Instead of bathing your body in stress chemicals and electrical energy from the digital devices, go outside and bathe yourself in fresh air, sunlight and nature. Plus escaping the constant stimulation of electronics allows your brain and body to slow down back to normal speeds and “catch up” to themselves.
When you get overwhelmed by stress, always think about the root of the cause and try to dig down to it. By attacking stress at its source you will see greater benefit from the stress practices you put into action. If stress begins to impact your relationships, work productivity and health, see out a coach, therapist or doctor to help you find ways to manage it in a healthy and positive way. Be sure to try stress management practices and changing your lifestyle behavior before taking prescription medications which can often be a slippery slope in which you’re not actually fixing the stressful problem but putting a temporary band-aid over it.
What is your favorite stress relief practice?