Stress is too common in modern life. While our ancient ancestors were dealing more with acute stress (running from a lion) we are dealing with chronic stress. Chronic stress wears down our body over time. It’s important to get your body, mind and spirit back into coherence and out of the stress state for health and longevity.
Here are some life hacks for stress.
- Avoid your cellphone and social media before noon and after 6pm. If you can beat the habit of waking up and checking your phone and all your updates it will save you from the rush of cortisol. Instead, go for a morning jog, do yoga, meditate or go for a walk before work. Or get creative and paint or draw something. Set yourself up for being centered for the day. How you start your day sets the tone for the rest of the day. Setting a daily intention can also work wonders. How you end the day is also important. Your sleep will improve if you can remove artificial light, especially blue light from screens (6pm is best, but at least by 8pm).
- Cold showers: When we are stressed we are overheated. In Ayurveda our pitta dosha goes out of balance, which is the fire element. To calm the raging fire, cold showers are amazing. They reset the nervous system, move the lymph system and reduce inflammation. You will also feel totally refreshed. It’s no surprise the Yogis recommend this daily.
- Exercise: Move that body to sweat, at least 4x a week. When we are stressed our bodies tightens up, our chi gets blocked and stagnated. Stress hormones flood our body. How to get them out? Move till you sweat. Cardio is a stress buster. Especially because most of us work on computers, we have to move our bodies to get the tension out. 20 min to an hour a day is enough, don’t over do it.
- Yoga Nidra or body awareness meditation: This practice helps to bring you back into your body and out of your head. It quiets the chatter, brings mental focus and helps to calm your nervous system down. Try to do it every day after work as a reset before dinner. It will shift the rythmn of your evening into one of calm and relaxation. If this practice is too still for you, try yin yoga.
- We live in a yang world. Yang is the energy of action, masculinity, doing, sun, fire, speed. We need to balance it with yin. Yin is cooling, calming, grounding, feminine. Create sometime after your exercise to just do nothing. Don’t check your phone, don’t do errands, don’t watch anything. Just do nothing and see what happens. Our world is a ‘do’ world and it is for this reason there is so much dis-ease. We have to honour the ‘non-doing’ to be balanced.
- Go outside, get wild. Put your feet on the ground. Spend time in nature. Everyday if you can. Even if you live in a city, there are parks. Spend time with the plants, the water, the trees and birds and just enjoy the serenity. Open yourself up and allow the healthy chi of nature to fill you up.
These are some important stress reducing techniques I use in my daily life and they do make a big difference. We cannot control everything that happens to us, but we can control our reactions and the choices we make.
I wish you so much peace.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this article where I will focus on herbs that reduce stress.