5 Things You Can Start Now to Reduce Stress in 2016
With 2015 and all of her stresses officially packed away, we have some good news for you. 2016 can be your year to finally beat stress in the arena instead of watching it take over your life from afar.
We can’t promise you won’t have stress creep into your life but we can help you take control of your mind and body when it does.
Our final installment in our series on stress gives you 5 practical things to do in the face of stress to ease your response and maintain a more liberated sense of well-being.
Your body was designed for a certain amount of stress. We survived for thousands of years because of the gift of our stress hormones and reactions. The problem with our lifestyle today is we’re not able to relieve the build-up of slow burning stress chemicals like cortisol that can endanger our health. That is where a rock-solid commitment to physical training comes in.
Our ancestors could work off these hormones by hunting, gathering and fleeing. Today we internalize and absorb them without releasing them from our systems.
So the task of physical training (i.e. lifting weights, sprinting, yoga, etc.) is the number one way we can wipe out damaging chemicals and replace them with helpful feel good chemicals called endorphins. Training your body is an ever changing state. Your amazing body can always improve performance to become more fit – whether that means walking 10 minutes longer each week or consistently working on that one elusive chin-up. Your chosen fitness path can be a natural antidote to stress that you can enjoy every day.
Whether you are starting fresh with a new training program or humming along on your fitness journey already, remind yourself that your work in the gym serves a huge piece in relieving stress. Check out these other 4 ways you can de-stress every day:
Strategize – Your body reacts uniquely to stress. Although you can’t avoid some stressors, you need a strategy put into place before the stress hits to be ready to deal with its impact. Which warriors are the most successful? The ones who go into battle with a carefully constructed battle plan.
Consider how you react to stress. Do you go into anxiety mode? Do you get angry? Think about ways you can re-direct your reactions. For example, if you know that a stressful day on the job can cause your stomach to tighten in knots, have tea on hand with your favorite mug and a pre-written list of scenarios that you have successfully navigated in the past.
Stop Stress Before it Hits – Here’s where your 2016 New Year’s Resolutions can come in. Now is the time to proactively stop stress from charging into your life. Find ways that you can plan for stressful situations and keep them from occurring.
For example, if you know Wednesday is typically a crazy day in your family’s life, plan ahead with meals, ride plans for the kids and scheduling of everyone’s day. The more you work together as a team, the easier the day will be.
Make Food Prep a Priority – If you want to look better in that little black dress, workout gear or swimsuit - you are going to have to prioritize the QUALITY of food you put into your body. When you make bad choices you don’t just sabotage your weight loss goals, you infuse elements such as sugar, sodium and other inflammatory elements into your system – which can affect your body just as harmfully as stress hormones.
If your life during the week is too busy to allow for healthy eating (be honest, are you really too busy?), make the commitment before the week starts to do your food prep. Plan out menus and look for new recipes to spice up your weekly meals.
Rely on Your Pals – Chances are that a friend has experienced very similar circumstances to those you are encountering. Use these people as resources to help you get your bearings during stressful times.
Sometimes stress causes us to withdraw but remember this – when you sit face to face with someone and look them in the eyes, as you talk your brain produces calming hormones that can ease stress. Remember how much better you felt when you told somebody about something that was going on in your life?
Of course you can use these tips any time of the year but since we are COMMITTED to making 2016 our BEST YEAR YET, make a conscious decision to care for yourself on a continuing basis. Make your mental and physical health a priority. You’ll find that the stressful monster in the room might not be so big after all.
Learn more about how you can join our 8 Week Warrior Challenge starting THIS JANUARY to get your life on a more stress-free track!
Have you got any proven ways that you beat stress? Share them with us and we’ll keep the tips coming on our Facebook page!