Did you know that 3 out of 4 doctor’s visits are for stress related illnesses? That according to the American Institute of Stress, stress actually shrinks the brain? I don’t know about you but I don’t have that much extra brain power that I want to lose!
You may think that stress is from major events, but the truth is stress shows up everywhere and very subtlety. It can be from both positive and negative events. Taking care of children, paying bills, driving on a freeway, negative feelings, getting a promotion, new friends, learning a new workout routine all have elements of stress.
When we feel stress our body goes into freeze, fight, or flight. Every muscle and organ are on alert including the heart and brain. Hormones start flowing and our breathing, blood flow, and cognitive ability are challenged. Oh! I am getting stressed just writing this- I need the stress busters that are below!
We will never be free from stress but we can learn how to release the effects as soon as we notice them. This can be done very simply while sitting at a desk, at home, or even in our car!
Here are 5 Stress Busters that you can do daily, easily, and often even at your desk!
1. Laugh! Even when you don’t have a reason. Laughing releases natural chemicals that allow us to feel better almost immediately. You have probably experienced yourself wanting to laugh in some inappropriate moments. The brain may do this spontaneously and you feel like you can’t control it! Well guess what you were getting a natural release! You can cause yourself to laugh at any moment! Try it and make sure it is a real good belly laugh. Feel your body when you finish a good laugh. Stress be gone at least for a few minutes!
2. Smile! The brain does not really know the difference between what is real or false! It believes what we tell it. So when we smile it thinks we are happy and releases happy hormones. This is similar to laughing, but can be done silently and continually. Plus when you smile at someone else they have the opportunity to do the same thing! Just try it and feel the difference in your face, breath and brain! (Warning-not a good idea to do when the boss is yelling at you! Wait until you turn around!)
3. Breathe! When we breathe oxygen is increased in the brain and flows throughout the body. Our cells need oxygen for health. We are already doing this unconsciously, but often not very deeply. When we are stressed we tend to chest breathe. Babies belly breathe. When we get deep breaths we feel so much better, get more oxygen throughout our system, and feel a calming throughout! To determine if you are chest or belly breathing, place an open palm on both places and then breathe-notice which hand rises higher. Work at getting the breath deeper and deeper and start paying attention during the day!
4. Stretch! Under stress our whole self tightens up. All the muscles tense and we can feel the pain in our weakest parts: back, head, stomach. By simple stretches-arms in the air, shoulders up and down, turning side to side-walking if possible-make a huge difference. Our bodies want to move. Our current life style often does not support this. If needed set a timer for once an hour to stretch and move. Feel the tightness release and flexibility return!
5. Do Belly Scrunches! Blood flow is constricted when we are stressed. The blood pools in the abdomen. So to get it moving pull your tummy in tight and release. Do this quickly for 30-50 times at once and notice the feeling of flow in your limbs. This also is good for movement in the intestines-another place that we can notice tension. We can get back ups in the intestine-not fun! We get double the release from this stress buster.
Peacefulness is a great feeling. Creativity, better relationships, better health, and productivity are increased when we are feeling peaceful. Try these simple steps daily and notice the difference! I am smiling at you right now!!!! Smile back.
I am passionate about helping people to have purposeful lives and business with less stress and more joy. Give me a call if I can help! Dr. Sheran