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by Journals to Freedom January 26, 2021 3 min read
Anything from minor annoyances to major life events can cause stress. Traffic jams, a cranky kid, financial woes, the loss of a loved one, and even societal events can induce a stress response.
Stress is your body's response to a challenge or demand. From a physiological perspective, short periods of stress can help us to avoid danger or heighten our problem solving ability. Prolonged stress triggers an ongoing stress response which can cause heart palpitations, quickening of breath, profuse sweating, and tense muscles. Stress is sometimes referred to as "the silent killer" because of the intense damage it can cause our bodies and minds. It is possible to prevent and even reverse the negative effects of stress using some simple, yet effective, techniques.
Long-term stress can harm your health. Research shows that cardiovascular symptoms, digestive disruption, and reproduction challenges are only a few of the major issues that can result from chronic stress. If you struggle to manage stress, try any or all of these stress reducing strategies.
It can be easy to get caught up in one particular stressful situation and allow it to steal your joy. Sometimes all we need to do is to zoom out of the current situation and reflect on our overall blessings. Practicing gratitude and creating habits that focus our minds on the positive in our lives can be life-changing. Start each day with a routine designed to attract positivity. We recommend the Positive Morning Binder, which contains a playlist, goal tracker, and thoughtful morning checklist designed to start a stress-free day. Throughout the day, practice repeating positive self affirming statements. Before you lay down to rest, complete a self affirmation writing prompt. This routine will keep your mind focused and in a positive state, which helps to reduce stress responses.
When you can't head to the day spa, aromatherapy brings the day spa to you. Essential oils can be used through inhalation or through topical application for aromatherapy benefits. Add a diffuser to your office or place a few drops on an aromatherapy pendant or bracelet. At the end of the day, essential oils can be added to your bath to support relaxation. Research has shown that particular oils reduce anxiety and stress levels including:
Everyone responds differently to different aromas, so it is important to try different essential oils and create combinations that work best for you. We recommend using the Ultimate Essential Oil Recipe Binder to keep track of your essential oil recipes and their stress reducing effects.
Mindful meditation is a technique that you can practice anywhere and for any length of time. Simply find a comfortable place to sit, focus on your inhale and exhale and bring your mind to the present moment. Let go of past and future concerns and focus on the "now." Research has shown that mindful meditation helps with depression, anxiety, and even pain management.
Similar to mindful meditation, mantras can be used to train our minds and minimize our stress responses. Mantra is a Sanskrit word that translates to "tool of the mind." A mantra is a word or group of words that, when repeated, focuses the mind. Dr. Herbert Benson, President of the Mind/Body Medical Institute and Harvard Medical School found that those who chant mantras experience reduced heart rate, lower stress levels, insomnia relief, and even boosts in their immune systems. Spotify has several mantra channels designed to help with this stress reducing technique.
A combination of physical movements with rhythmic breathing can immediately lower stress levels. These three ancient arts rely on physicality to divert mental focus and prevent racing thoughts. The series of postures and flowing movements coupled with intentional breathing helps to center both body and mind. Find a local class in the park or use an online video to begin.
Live your best, stress-free life with these techniques. Let us know in the comments which works best for you.
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