Research done by University of California scientists at Berkeley and Davis have revealed an upside to experiencing moderate levels of stress. The results found that the onset of stress can actually trigger the brain to create new cells and improve memory.
The key seems to be managing stress regularly and only having nerve-racking experiences intermittently. Prolonged states of high stress, they found, can actually suppress the brain’s function and ability to create new cells; even inducing memory loss.
Highly successful people tend to implement a variety of the following practices to stay calm and boost their health mentally and physically.
Appreciate the Little Things
Appreciate what you have – tune in to life and appreciate the positive moments when they happen or at least try to reflect on them when your head hits the pillow and you calm down at the end of the day.
It’s the little things that make up a big picture, like a puzzle; daily life has many little parts that add up to the whole day. Perspective is key to creating less stress in our lives.
Stop often to appreciate the roof over your head, the laughter of your children, the delicious food on your table, the small wins at work or the progress of a project – these things are important.
Taking the time to think about what really matters in your daily life helps you appreciate what you have. Not only does it improve your mood, but it also has been proven to lower stress-creating cortisol levels. Work daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
Reframe your perspective
Things people say or do can affect how you feel throughout the day, accidents happen, work gets overwhelming, children cry…don’t dwell on things you can not change, rather reflect on how you could deal with situations better.
So you don’t feel over-anxious, in the moment of a stressful situation, make sure to take a step back and reflect on what you can do to avoid getting upset, and diffuse the situation before it gets a hold.
Stop yourself when you have to … Thomas Jefferson once said “If you are angry, count to ten before you respond, then, if you are still angry, count to 10 again.” This wise advice applies to any situation where there is stress.
You can’t always control your circumstances, but you can control how you react to things happening in your life.
Don’t create extra worries
The more time you worry about the possibilities or outcomes of a situation, the more internal stress you create and it taxes your mental health.
Truly calm people have learned or conditioned themselves to not spend their energy on things that don’t exist. Meaning, the more scenarios you create in your head about a situation the more things you actually create to worry about.
This takes time away from your daily needs and the important things in your life you should really be focusing your energy on.
Positive thought patterns need to be created throughout your day – ingrain them into your routines to create calm.
- When you pass a mirror – tell yourself you are beautiful.
- Stop and smell a rose; actually enjoy the aroma and feel the smile it puts on your face.
- When you hear little kids having fun, stop and enjoy the moment; maybe even reminisce about your own childhood.
Look for these things as you live your life – seek them out. By taking a minute to have a positive experience, you can literally calm your body and your mind – try it and see if it makes you feel better throughout the day.
Your body has a physical response to external stimuli (aka – stress). When things get rough, our minds tend to think negatively – recognize this when it happens and steer your thoughts away.
Try looking back on each day before bed and find one positive thing that happened, no matter how small it may seem. If you were too busy throughout the day to find joy – this is the best time to do it.
Implanting positivity into your day in small doses is an easy way to boost your confidence and productivity, as well as diffuse the stress of daily life.
No negative talk
Watch the words you use – negative talk creates a negative mindset.
A big step in managing stress regularly is avoiding negative thoughts, so quit your stinkin thinkin! The “why me?” or victim mentality can creep in without you even realizing it…. reframe your outlook.
Stop yourself if you hear thoughts in your head like – “I suck” or “this is too hard” or “I hate this” or the big one … “I can’t!”
Twist your perspective to a more positive outcome – “I’m not good at this yet” or “it’s hard, but with practice, I can do this” or “I don’t like this, but I can get through it!”
Also, when it comes to saying something negative, try to reflect on the fact that it is just a perception, only a thought – not reality.
You can shift your frame of mind and alter the world you perceive by controlling your thoughts, and the words that you use to express those thoughts to yourself and others.
If you ruminate on a negative thought you end up physically manifesting it as stress!
Next time you say something negative, catch yourself and see if you are clenching your fists or grinding your teeth, or tensing your neck muscles – you’d be surprised how often it happens.
Limit caffeine consumption
We live in a fast paced world and feel the need to caffeinate to keep up sometimes (or all the time) and this is fine if done in moderation. But let’s be honest, that is exceptional!
Drinking caffeine increases your adrenaline production (the hormone responsible for our survival response) which is great when we need it in-the-moment, but not if it is a constant experience. This continual fight-or-flight response is a huge stress in many people’s lives.
Doctors typically recommend no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day – so look at your soda labels, don’t drink too many energy drinks, and count your cups of coffee.
Try drinking tea and relaxing at the end of a rough or busy day with Hemptealicious hemp tea, and reap the benefits of calm in your cup!
The increased use of electronics in modern society has created a stream of continual stimulation. There tends to be a constant bombardment of stressful news, work-related emails, videos, and 24/7 social media.
Turn off your phone – disconnect from the world for a few minutes every day. Take downtime to let the brain rest, the eyes rest, the heart calm down – catch your breath.
It is amazing how refreshed you will feel when you get right back to the grind, stress-free.
Tune out for a large chunk of time on the weekend if you need – whatever you have time for in your life, just try to do it regularly for best results.
Technology has also increased our exposure to different light spectrums which keeps the brain in a heightened state, and can lead to exhaustion if breaks are not worked into the daily routine.
Get your ZZZs
Sleep is the center point to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your internal stress. The body breaks down with constant stress, and sleep is truly the only time it gets a chance to rest and repair.
Sleep deprivation is a major source of stress – it raises your hormone levels even when there is no stressor present. If it is not addressed, and you go without proper sleep for too long, the body will break down and exhaustion sets in – causing your immune system to weaken, leading to illness over time.
It is very common in our modern society to fall asleep watching tv, looking at social media, listening to music or even reading a book with the light on. These are all fine things – but if you stop these activities 15 minutes before bedtime you will fall asleep easier and sleep for longer periods without waking. We create our own melatonin when our eyes have no stimuli – darkness increases production.
Computer monitors, phones, tablets, video games, and TVs can interrupt our ability to make this crucial sleep hormone. Blue light emitted from electronics has been shown to interfere with our brain wave patterns, and these are necessary for the different stages of sleep.
Have a support system
Don’t try to do everything by yourself – it’s impossible, not practical, and usually not very productive in the end. You need to lean on your friends and family, as they lean on you – it is all about balance.
When times are challenging, or the day is stressful make sure to reach out and get the support you may need in the moment.
Even in a pandemic, we can keep close to those that matter most. Call, text, video chat, send a card, buy their favorite meal, and leave it at the door for them.
If your friends or family are struggling, buy them some groceries or get them a gift card for a store they can get basics at.
Showing you care about others makes you stop to care for yourself too – and you always need to love you!
Everyone has someone in their life rooting for them – reach out to your people and be there for them in return. Remember to give and receive – nobody appreciates a one-sided relationship.
Stop and breathe
The art of being in the moment with your breath is ancient – taking a couple of minutes to focus on your breathing during a stressful occasion sounds easy, but can trip people up in the height of anxiety.
When you are feeling overwhelmed, tell yourself to “slow down“ and find your calm.
If you have to – take a moment and isolate in the bathroom, your car, or a dark office. Close out the world and just breathe, slowly…
Train your brain to focus, destress, and defuse the situation-at-hand through intentional breathing.
There are many theories behind breathwork and just as many ways to practice it – explore more and find what works for you. The point of breathwork is to slow down your heart rate, catch your breath, and calm the mind.
A simple breathing exercise is to count while taking methodical and even breaths – count 4 in through your nose…. count 4 out through your mouth …count 4 in through your nose…. count 4 out through your mouth ..working your way up to a bigger number every few minutes to the point of finding the calm you are seeking.
You will appreciate how you feel after just taking a moment to catch your breath – remember this one – it’s a lifesaver in tough times…..
This is something you can do at any time of day to slow down the chaos.