Stress is inevitable.
It’s impossible to get through life without it.
But, stress doesn’t have to = struggle.
There are many ways to manage your stress so that it doesn’t have an overwhelming impact on your overall health, in particular, hormonal health.
Keep reading on to find my top 3 tips to help you improve your body’s stress response to decrease the damage cortisol (stress hormone) is doing to your health and hormones.
- Soft Belly Breathing
When stressed, we tend to breathe with our shoulders and chest, rather than our diaphragm, and we also tend to tighten our abdominal muscles. This adds to the tension already felt in the body during hard times. Soft belly breathing promotes deeper breathing from the abdomen and less shallow breathing from the chest. This slows the heart rate, re-balances the glands involved in our stress response (adrenals), and promotes a calm feeling.
When you’re feeling tight and stressed, try soft belly breathing. Start with just 5-10 minutes a day, and see how quickly it helps you drop into a more relaxed state.
1| Get into a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down.
2| Place one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest.
3| Breathe in deeply through your nose. Focus on expanding your belly on the inhale.
4| On the exhale, use your abdominal muscles to push all the air out of your lungs until they are empty.
5| With each breath in, say the word “soft” to yourself. With each exhale, say the word “belly.” This will help you soften your belly.
Getting in contact with the earth every day is grounding. Research is showing that connecting directly with the earth’s energy can actually improve health by reducing stress, decreasing inflammation, and increasing immunity.
Spending 40 minutes per day with direct skin contact with the earth can make a big difference.
1| Walking barefoot in the grass
3| Playing on the lawn with the kids or dog or friends
4| Laying out in the yard at night and looking up at the stars.
The beach and ocean count too! Start small and build up over time if 40 minutes seems too much.
- Re-framing stress
Instead of trying so hard to relax, engage! When we tell ourselves to relax, we put more stress on ourselves! So let’s re-frame our thoughts around the stress. It is all about changing our perception.
1| Instead of telling yourself you are overwhelmed, tell yourself you are excited that you have the choice to have all these amazing things in your life.
2| Instead of telling yourself you are so busy, tell yourself you are so productive and effortlessly achieve your goals.
3| View your stress and anxiety as a power boost that will help you get things done and perform miracles!
You may not be any less stressed and anxious, but you will get the benefits of both cortisol and DHEA (youth and fertility hormone) release. This makes a huge difference in how you feel in the long run.
People who see their nervous energy as excitement perform better on anxiety- producing tasks, like test taking and public speaking.
How do you manage your stress? For each of us it is different and we can all learn from each other. Share below.