Natural Ways to Manage Stress
By Sabina Brownstein
Are you one of those busy people who has 1,000 different things to do every day and is always thinking, “I never have enough time!”. Living in our fast-paced world with so many distractions, it can be difficult to find the time and space to relax and enjoy the present moment.
But neglecting to create those precious intervals of peace takes a huge toll on our physical, mental and emotional health. This is especially true in the wake of the Covid restrictions which curtailed our freedoms and caused extra stress. True well-being and happiness can only be cultivated when you take some time to slow down, turn inward, and relax. If the pace of your life has gotten out of hand then it’s likely that you need to stop ‘doing’ so much and start ‘being’ more. Of course, I’m not suggesting that you give up all of your worldly possessions and retreat to a cave on the top of a mountain. The goal is to create a pace of life that feels right for you - a pace that gets everything done, but without that hectic nervous feeling.
In the long run you may find that slowing down can actually help you to handle life’s situations faster and better. Here are a few suggestions for how to achieve a better balance in your life by making a conscious commitment to slowing down a bit each day. 1)
Try switching your phone off for a few hours during the day. This will relax your mind and allow you get things done efficiently without interruptions.2)
Don’t be afraid to say no to social arrangements. If you’ve had a busy day or week, ask yourself if going to this event will be good for you, or is it just an obligation that will exhaust you more.3)
Take a walk in nature, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day. Feel the connection of your feet to the earth, and take the fresh air into your lungs. This will rejuvenate your mind and bring energy to your body.4)
Treat yourself to a day at a beautiful Spa where you can receive a relaxing massage and other treats for your body and soul.In addition to the above tips it is important to schedule some real ‘Me Time’ into your life.
Getting into a regular restorative practice like Yoga is an excellent way to stay in the moment and connect with your body. Qi Gong is another great way to gently stretch your body while staying mindful of the present moments. A regular practice of Meditation is now widely acknowledged to be one of the most effective ways to slow down, and experience peace. Meditating creates inner spaciousness, and even just five minutes a day is enough to restore your mental and emotional balance.
Journaling is another easily accessible way to reduce stress. Take time to write down and reflect on the contents of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Doing this helps you to develop the capacity to make positive choices about how you treat yourself. Many of us are running on subconscious programs that are telling us: “You are not doing enough!” which really means “You are not good enough!”.
This is why we are compulsively thinking that we need to be doing more, and that is what causes stress. Journaling helps us to see this subconscious programming more clearly so that we can choose to replace it with positive motivations that nourish us. A good way to start is with a Gratitude Journal. Every day write down five things that you are grateful for, and this will get you on the path of taking time to see and feel the beauty of life. When you recognize that stress, schedules and juggling priorities are making you feel overwhelmed, it’s time to slow the momentum of your life by focusing on your true priorities.
What do you lose when you spend so much of your time trying to fit more in? Inevitably your health, happiness, and the quality of your relationships will all suffer. This is a symptom of modern life that has been called ‘the tyranny of the urgent’. The cure for this symptom is to consciously take more time to be present in the moment, rather than constantly anticipating the next thing that you think needs to be done. Ultimately, it’s about loving yourself enough to create a balance in your life that makes being healthy and happy a priority.