Stress Less & Release More: Building a Joyful Life
Things are going to happen in your life regardless of what you do to prepare for them— it is how you react to them that reflects your ability to overcome obstacles in your daily life and grow from a tough experience. Most of us harbor residual emotions from past experiences, whether we like to admit it or not. Keeping these emotions bottled up creates a block, which is where we get stuck and rendered unable to live a truly free life. It is essential to learn how to let these emotions flow out of you, rather than stay stuck inside of you. So, let’s talk about laxatives for the soul!!
In the moment of a stressful situation where I can’t run away to the beach or a yoga mat, I breathe. I focus on my inhalations and exhalations, taking a few long deep breaths with a one second hold at the top of the inhalation. This technique is the first responder to the scene when it comes to dealing with daily obstacles.
Ideas for in-the-moment stress release techniques:
Change perspectives (If you are inside, go outside)
Mindfully drink a glass of water (Focus on the sensation, squeeze in lemon for a kick)
Mantra (Repeat in your head “this moment will pass” or another phrase you like)
Removing stress from your life takes thought and determination; it’s not an automatic fix because there are many daily stressors, or you might have deeper-rooted anxiety that takes more time to release. Stress is a natural instinct to potentially dangerous events, but in this modern world we overthink what these dangers are. Stress ignites primitive regions in our brains that can’t distinguish between being chased by a lion and being late for work. Therefore because we are wired like our ancestors, the body produces the same hormonal response even though your life is not in danger. Many lifestyle factors can affect your stress levels, so I encourage you to take a look at your daily routine to see where you can instill stress-less habits. I’m using the word “stress-less” because I believe as humans we are constantly exposed to new experiences that may cause stress. Instead of aiming to have a stress-free life, I am realistically aiming to live a stress-less life by working daily to improve my internal and external environment to grow into my best self.
Daily Habits to build a stress-less life:
Exercise: Move your body for your mind. Exercising and getting your heart rate up 30 minutes a day reduces stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, while stimulating production of endorphins, “mood elevators,” making you feel optimistic and more relaxed post-workout.
Plant-based Meals: Incorporating more fruits, veggies, and herbs into your diet results in added nutrients that naturally reduce inflammation and cortisol levels. Research has shown male and female vegans have lower stress and anxiety levels compared to their omnivorous counterparts. A possible explanation for this shows that animal fats activate inflammation in the neural pathways responsible for stress and mood. High animal protein diets can actually raise stress hormone levels and significantly reduce testosterone, whereas eating a plant-based diet can lower stress hormones and increase testosterone.
Foster Connection: Surround yourself with people who ignite your spirit. Find those who listen to what you have to share with the world and encourage you to follow your heart. I have found a lovely group of young women this past year whom I can reach out to and stay connected with for weekly support and learning. Any ladies interested in joining check it out here or ask me about it! We have women from all over the world! Going to your favorite places in nature, yoga classes, farmer’s markets, or local events are other great places to find people you vibe with.
You deserve to live with less stress. A majority of the time in college I don’t feel stressed, yet I look around and hear other students talking about how stressed they are. Sometimes this makes me question if I’m working hard enough because I’m not stressed like everyone else. In reality this is not true— I have just learned to cope with daily stressors and release them. I know I am worthy of living a joyful, fun life and believe you are too!
Work on one or two of the mentioned stress-less techniques this week. Ask a friend or significant other to practice with you for added support and accountability.
“Live Dirty, Eat Clean & Green”