Whether it’s preparing for that big work presentation, dealing with a drama-loving neighbor or gearing up for a special first date, it’s completely understanding that our nerves can get the best of us. Self-doubt, anxiety, fear of failure (and for some, fear of success) all can do a number on our body and brain.
Some people unfortunately deal with life’s stresses by pouring a strong drink. I mean, how many television shows have we seen where the character seems to suddenly have a firm handle on their life as soon as they down some bourbon? Surely, some of us have had times where we’ve said, “I just can’t wait to get home and have a glass of wine.” Some pop a pill to help them sleep better. Others wallow in their frustrations, engaging in ongoing negative self-talk that keeps their goals at bay. Or, it’s not uncommon that people stray from their healthy eating habits. Suddenly, a pint of ice cream goes missing, thanks to the stress/food connection. Ironically, these attempts at managing stress actually add to it.
But at Raw and Natural Health, we’re big believers in seeing that glass half full. No, not the bourbon glass either. Stress is a given, but it’s how we handle it that can help us bulldoze through those negative thoughts and anxiety. Just like eating healthy foods, having healthy thoughts contributes to a better life.
Here are some tips on how to deal with stress so it doesn’t drag you down mentally or physically.
Healthy habits to help manage stress
Living in the moment and genuinely appreciating what you have can help ease anxieties. Sarah Maria, a certified meditation instructor with the Chopra Center in Carlsbad, California says getting in touch with your thoughts and surroundings though “mindful meditation” can help make this possible.
Meditation that falls in the “mindfulness” category, like vipassana, she says, ” . . . involves focusing on your breathing in order to diminish awareness of worrisome thoughts. As soon as your mind wanders or you notice noises outside or sensations in your body, you just come back to the breath.”
You need not be a meditation superstar surrounded by feng shui and incense. If you are, that’s great – keep it up! Just sitting quietly for a few minutes on your sofa can do the trick. For more information about other kinds of meditation, read this article.
Diana Ross may have sung about stopping in the name of love, but we think stopping can carry a new meaning altogether. For example, every time a negative thought enters your head, imagine a stop sign. It’s a visual reminder of something we do in our daily driving routines anyway: We stop. Look both ways. Think about where we’re going and then proceed accordingly. So . . . just stop.
Take time to imagine a stop sign every time you have thoughts that you’re not perfect enough, smart enough, confident enough, then replace it with thoughts of you in your ideal situation (applause after your presentation, that date being filled with meaningful conversation and good laughs, and so on). Do what works for you. It might not be a stop sign, but perhaps the soothing ebb and flow of a tide or even thinking of your favorite color.
It’s believed that visualizing a desired outcome is almost as if the body is actually experiencing it. So no wonder you may feel “down” and “blah” at times. If you’re always thinking bad, you will feel bad because it’s like your body’s going through where your thoughts are taking it.
In fact, a Psychology Today article mentions that ” . . . research has revealed that mental practices are almost effective as true physical practice, and that doing both is more effective than either alone.” So, it certainly can’t hurt!
For more about the power of positive thinking, check out this story:
Eat healthy foods:
Don’t be tempted to throw your healthy lifestyle off when a case of nerves strikes. There’s lots to be said about the stress/food connection involving cortisol (the stress hormone itself) that actually triggers our intense cravings for things like salts and sweets.
Resist the urge by reminding yourself how great you feel and look thanks to those organic apples and avocado smoothies you enjoy. You can connect on that first date or make it though a tough business meeting without devouring pizza and chips.
So, believe in yourself, ignore the naysayers and remember that it’s important for your overall health to be happy not just some of the time, but all of the time. You’re worth it and you deserve it!
Here’s to YOU!
What techniques do you have to help manage stress? Please share; we’d love to hear from you.
Sources for this article include