5 First Aid Fixes for Stress

Late for a meeting? Rushing out the door to pick up the kids?

Eating lunch while trying to finish a project? Sounds familiar, yes?

In our modern world, we seem to find stress to be a normal part of accomplishing our daily tasks. Like the ladies in my free and private community, we are busy people. On any given day, I personally have a list with a half dozen some-odd things I’m supposed to try and get done. On top of that, I need to make time to prepare a few good meals for myself, get some exercise in, maybe see some friends, and oh yeah… sleep!

It’s a great thing to have the ability to accomplish so much in our lives, but large amounts of stress can be really detrimental to our health and happiness- increasing our risk for infections, heart disease, cancer, obesity, depression… the list goes on and on. While it may not be possible to stop our lives and head to Maui at the first symptoms of stress, it is possible to take some basic steps to reduce stress and increase our daily sense of wellness.

What is Stress?

Stress is your body’s response- its natural reaction- to challenges. It’s a healthy response! Our body is ready to deal with whatever comes at us by increasing blood flow, oxygen intake, and hormone production.

Stress can be a bit complicated to understand if you try to look for common symptoms. Physicians list stress symptoms to include anything from body pains and sweating to acne and insomnia to decreased sex drive and nausea. Psychologically we may feel ungrounded, chaotic, anxious, and depressed. I even sometimes get angry when I’m stressed out. Luckily, we don’t have to always stay in this state, but we first must learn how to identify and slow down when we are stressed out.

Mind Your Stress- Listen to Your Body Messages!

One clear point from these lists of potential symptoms is that stress is specific for each individual. We all experience stress but many of us tune out and don’t listen to our body messages, to the ways our beautiful, caring selves tell us what is going on.

The first and most important thing we must learn to do when learning how to deal with stress is to SLOW DOWN and notice what we are feeling. Pay attention to what your body is telling you by feeling and identifying the sensations you are experiencing. This is a practice of mindfulness.

However, slowing down and getting in our bodies to identify our internal language can be hard when we are in a rush. But never fear my friends, I am here to bring you 5 excellent hacks to help you slow down, pay attention to yourself, and feel more Zen in no time.

Five First Aid Fixes for Stress Management

1. Sip on Some Water

When you really get worked up, try sipping on a glass of water. Don’t chug the water- that’s beside the point. Slowly sip and sip and sip your stress away. Not only are you calming yourself down, but you are also hydrating and flushing your body out. This is really a helpful tip if you struggle with emotional eating.

2. Smile and Laugh

I literally mean just this. You don’t need a funny movie or even a joke. Take a moment in private and quietly laugh or smile to yourself for at least five minutes. Studies have shown that the act of smiling, even for nothing, actually tricks your brain into releasing happy hormones.

3. Go for a Walk

Recognize that you aren’t being productive? See that you are stressed out? Go for a walk to cool off and get out of your head space. Feel your feet on the ground, listen to the sounds around you, and enjoy the fresh air on your face. When you get back to your activities, I guarantee good things.

4. Deep Breathing

Have to stay put but way too stressed out? Take 10 deep, long full breaths- count them. Taking these mindful breaths will immediately slow you down and help get you in touch with your body. This is an excellent first aid tip for a meeting situation since you can do it without anyone noticing.

5. Talk to a friend

If it is really a hard time, there is nothing wrong with responsibly seeking social support. It has been shown that regular individual levels of stress and healthy social support are inversely correlated. That means that those dear people in our lives actually help reduce our level of stress on average.

I hope you try out these quick tips for stress management. They may be simple and easy (and that’s a good thing), but they are amazingly effective in relieving stress in no time. Remember, you can’t avoid stress, but you can certainly manage it. You are in control!

Originally published at www.stephaniedodier.com on July 1, 2016.