We are all familiar with stress. It’s just part of life these days, but as familiar as it is, it can be managed. Here are some scientifically based remedies to stress, along with other remedies from older traditions I know have worked for myself and clients.
1. Observe And Be Kind To Yourself
The first step to any transformative practice is observation. Figure out what your triggers are and how you react. Where does your hippocampus take you when you’re on autopilot?
Do you run to a cookie? Television, coffee, beer?
For me, once I got over the chemical dependencies of cigarettes, booze, marijuana I saw just how much my mind obsessed over my relationships when stressed.
You might find you go to the staples of self-medication or you might discover you have unique ways of coping.
Unique methods your brain has learned in order to reduce its experience of suffering.
Which brings us to our other point:
Stop torturing yourself over what you do when stressed, it’s not a reflection of you, it’s a conditioned part of your brain.
If you beat yourself up for getting stressed all you’re doing is creating more stress.
Breathe through these times, realize that the more you get yourself into a non-stressed state, the more that inner whirlpool of trigger, action, accusation, guilt, and shame starts to drain away.
2. Breathe Deeply
Our emotions are linked to our breathing because our sympathetic and parasympathetic responses are linked to our breathing.
Deeper, fuller breaths are signs that we are in a relaxed state. The short choppy breaths of a triggered state are meant to increase oxygen and get your body ready for fight or flight.
When we reverse this and calm our breath by breathing deeply, we are sending a very real message to the body that the threat has been assessed and it’s safe to calm down.
As with all things, this comes with practice and is normally easier if you establish a meditation and mindfulness routine.