Between the news headlines, disturbing political agendas, and shocking natural disasters, peace can be elusive these days.
The American Psychological Association has issued a “Stress in America” snapshot that includes some alarming figures. Although stress levels were in a lowering trend, they rose substantially during 2016, quickly picking up speed and fueled by fears of terrorism, gun violence, and the shaky state of the economy.
The most disturbing issue is that a good percentage of Americans don’t know how to handle this influx of stress. Reports state:
“Despite myriad stressors, in August survey, four in 10 Americans (41 percent) say that they are doing significantly or somewhat better at managing their stress compared to 10 years ago, with a nearly equal proportion (39 percent) reporting that their ability to manage stress has stayed the same. One-quarter (25 percent) concede that they wish they managed stress more effectively over the past 10 years.”
As we adjust to the significant changes that our world is shifting through, it’s necessary to take pause and figure out a plan of action that makes peace a priority. Thankfully, there are plenty of simple ways to stop stressing and make room for more tranquility in our lives! Here are some tools that can shed light on how to stop stressing out about everything and how to reduce stress.
1. Body Work
We’re not just talking pumping iron here. Although exercise is a fantastic way to sweat out your stresses, massage and energy work can do wonders, too.
- Massage: Deep-tissue massage works out the kinks and offers you a hurts-so-good solution to built-up stress.
- Reiki: This healing method goes deep in a different way, working with the energy body to clear out chakras, promote balance, and increase relaxation in one fell swoop.
- Acupuncture: Although needles are stress-inducing for some, this healing technique releases energy blockages, and has also been shown to reduce stress hormones in the body. The squeamish can benefit from this method, too, by opting for acupuncture’s gentler cousin – acupressure.
2. Essential Oils
These plant-derived elixirs are so versatile that literally everyone can use them. The most common methods are inhalation, diluted topical application, and ingestion.
Lavender oil, in particular, is a common go-to for stress relief, as it contains compounds that promote rest, and it gently shifts the body out of anxiety. Sandalwood and Frankincense are great to stop stressing, as well; and Lemon can help you reach a sunnier mood.
Add a drop of two to your pillow for better rest, keep a scented satchel in your office to encourage a calm work environment, or use a diffuser to raise the peaceful vibes in your home. You’ll not only smell great but feel great, too!
In a state of anger, people are told to “breathe and count to ten” for good reason. Taking the time to control the breath when we’re upset helps us to regain control over our mental states.
Breathwork is, simply speaking, becoming more mindful of your breathing. Lead yourself into a state of relaxation, enlightenment, or inner stillness through the breath. It takes practice to reach yogi status, so don’t give up after your first try. Working up to slower, deeper inhales and exhales can do wonders for your mental state. Timed breathing can help you expand your chest and lungs, encouraging the body to adopt a more effective pattern of breathing.
4. Get Frisky
We’re just gonna say it – a good old-fashioned roll in the hay is a cure for most of life’s stresses. Being intimate helps ground us in our bodies; heightening our senses and becoming more mindful of our reactions to stimuli.
An understanding, skilled partner can help you take the extra energy you’re accumulating through stress and channel it through something much more fun and exciting. The best part is, love-making incorporates various other stress-relievers, such as massage, touch, and breathwork. And did we mention endorphins? Expect a flood of them!
As the saying goes, if you don’t laugh, you cry. Even the simple act of smiling can boost the “feel good” neurotransmitters (endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin), encouraging the mind to think happy thoughts. “Turn that frown upside down” are words to live by. We can find humor in anything, and laughing helps us reconsider just how serious our problems are.
Laughing on command may sound impossible, but try recalling a funny memory, letting out a few giggles, and allowing them to turn into full belly laughs. Trying this with friends is sure to have you gasping for air (in a good way). Keeping a list handy of funny movies, situations, jokes, or pictures can help get you there, too. Fair warning – once you start, it may be hard to stop!
It bears repeating that dissolving stress is all about taking the time to ground your energy. Grounding is nothing more than becoming more mindful of your body and using it to anchor you into the present. Bodywork helps us to be “in” our bodies, and also gives the mind something to focus on.
Whether you’re waltzing, doing an old-school running man, or free-styling, dancing is a great outlet for emotions. As an added bonus, music can help soothe stress, as well. Dancing the night away to your favorite beats is the most social, fun, invigorating way to kiss your worries goodbye.
With so many options to choose from, we don’t have to get stuck in stress mode at all! Every day brings us a new opportunity to move past dwelling on our worries and shift towards resolving them. Mindfulness is key, as well as realizing that everything ebbs and flows, including our emotions.
Work with your needs, have fun trying new techniques, and choose the best method for you to stop stressing. Rest assured that peace may only be a massage, laugh, or a dance away!