Author: Stacy Harrison
Published: Jul 28 2013
Sometimes we have those days. The nights where you lie in bed thinking about something because you’re upset. And no matter how finished you are thinking about it, it won’t go away. It just feels like a giant is squeezing your soul in his fist it until you want to scream. That’s a feeling we could all do without.
There are a number of things you can do to manage such stress in the moment, and to increase your emotional toughness in order to prevent a recurrence in the long term.
Body and mind rely on each other. To best arm your mind to handle the pressures of modern living, it is important to keep your body healthy. The mental and physical stresses are not separate entities. Rather, they gang up on you to crush your spirit. Strengthen yourself in one, and you will be better against both.
It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s absolutely essential. Not only does it get your blood moving, flushing toxins and waste out of the slow moving periphery of your cardiovascular system, it also releases endorphins in your brain and cleans out your pores as you sweat.
Do it regularly to strengthen your body and discipline your mind. Yoga is very popular for this as it combines elements of meditation with exercise, but if that’s not your thing, a regular old run will help too!
It also doesn’t hurt to be regularly reminded that the world is a lot bigger than our problems.
Eating junk puts an enormous amount of stress on your body. Not only does your body have to make do without many of the essential nutrients that you need daily, it has to manage all of the excesses involved. That puts pressure on your body in two different ways!
The best solution is to eat a balanced diet with as little processed food as you can. Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables every day is an essential for your body to run smoothly. Know your vitamins and supplement whatever you’re not eating.
Be careful with the vitamins you choose. Your body has to get rid of everything you don’t use, so don’t overdo it. The best thing is always something natural without any additives, if you need a vitamin C supplement, go either directly with fruit, or with a mostly unaltered supplement like in the link.
But you’re already stressed, what now? Well, there is a lot you can do to get your mind and body under control.
Jasmine has a sedative effect, documented in Kyoto University, significantly reducing heart rate and anxiety.
Simply close your eyes and focus on a point, consciously shutting down each stream of thought as it surfaces in your mind until you are completely focused. Keep this up for 15 to 30 minutes and the effect is similar to a night’s sleep in that it makes all the upsetting things you experienced earlier seem like yesterday’s news.
There are a lot of types of meditation, some of which draw more from Eastern traditions and are more spiritual and complex. Each tradition thinks they are the best, but even the most basic technique outline above will be effective.
I like to light a candle and use the flame as my focal point.
Didn’t expect to see that twice did you? Well it’s true! In the short term, exercise works much like meditation in that it forces you to focus, forcing other worries into the background, where they don’t get in the way. It also alters your brain chemistry by releasing endorphins which helps you manage pain, both emotional and physical.
Everything that is good for you takes a little bit of discipline to bring yourself to do. Don’t let that discourage you. If it’s hard now, it will pay off better later. Nothing good is free or effortless. So next time you are faced with a choice between the right option and the easy option, pick the one that leads to satisfaction and happiness.
Stacy Harrison is a freelance writer who enjoys learning and writing about wellness. She draws from decades of personal experience about life and living and wants to share what she has learned with the world.
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