There’s actually one step that comes before beginning this list, so it’s basically 11 steps. The first is not necessarily “super easy” but I want to get it out of the way…
Find out whether or not you have a serious affliction that requires medical attention. Easier said than done. Don’t discount lesser-diagnosed things like adrenal fatigue and food intolerances. Your general practitioner or random specialists may not be comfortable raising issues that are either not under their “jurisdiction,” that they don’t take stock in, or that they don’t feel has been researched in the medical community “enough.” That doesn’t mean you can’t take your health into your own hands and find the right medical professionals to ask (like a functional doctor, nutritionist or therapist).
Now on to the actual SUPER easy ways to reduce stress:
1. Breathe. This solution seems to have one of the most powerful, instant results for me. When I can remember to do this and repeat a few times, it almost never fails me in bringing down my heart rate, clearing my mind, and bestowing a sense of peace and calm over what I had originally perceived as “overwhelming.”
Try this method a few times over the next couple of hours, here are the steps:Spend 5 seconds breathing in to your full lung capacity
Hold this healing, life-giving breath in your lungs for 5 seconds
Mindfully and steadily release for 5 seconds
2. Spend 60 seconds flipping through a mental list of a few things you have to be thankful for in your past. These are things that will never “go away” because they’ve already happened, and no changes in your life can take them from you. They are your important possessions, take a second to cherish them. This one works like a charm for me. Before I know it, 5 minutes has passed and I have a smile on my face and a brand new outlook on my life. Just taking stock of everything I’ve been blessed with is a foolproof way to remind me of how wonderfully abundant my days have been.
3. Fix your posture. Just try it and see if you don’t feel like the beautiful, powerful creature you were created to be 🙂
4. Remind yourself that you are loved. I don’t just mean by friends and family. You are loved by a force of nature greater than just the people who “have” to love you. You were put here for a purpose and it only takes a few minutes of scripture reading to get a huge dose of deep tenderness from your creator. And if you you’re looking for a more “accessible” reminder, check out Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It will change your life and your perception of love from God and the people around you.
5. Do a quick, detoxifying drybrush session. This is a technique that acts as a massage, buffs dead skin cells away, encourages cell regrowth of skin (the largest organ), and awakens the lymphatic system which drains away toxins. It also forces us to take a deep breath and focus on something healing and calming. You can find a great tutorial for drybrushing here, and this is the brush I use.
6. Memorize and do your go-to gentle yoga pose. Here’s a set of small-space, training-free yoga poses from Fitsugar to choose from. Butterfly pose is my favorite!
7. Ask yourself why you are feeling stress. This might seem obvious. Like “My friend is counting on me to be there on time but that meeting dragged on forever and then the subway was packed and the doors wouldn’t close and now I’m standing here in the traincar with 50 other people in a tiny smelly space as time ticks away and I’M GOING TO BE LATE AND THIS IS THE WORST THING IN THE WORLD AND MY FRIEND WILL HATE ME FOREVER. But seriously, what is the root of your stress and how can you fix it? If the root is actually a fear of rejection (your friend hating you) is this a real possibility? If so, how can you fix it? Do you need to spend some extra time with your friend? Commit to leaving 20 minutes early next time you see them? Or, do you need to tell your brain to shut up about it because it’s not real. Your mind (or the enemy) is tricking you in to getting worked you up over nothing and you don’t have to stand by as a passenger headed straight for stress. As humans we get exasperated all the time. Sometimes we “need” stress to pump the adrenaline to actually catch the door before it closes, to pump us up before the Big Talk, or to get that extra mile out of our run. But sometimes the stress, and its outpouring of bio-chemicals, is totally unnecessary. We have the tools to either thrive in our environment or make the changes we need. Above all else, we have God looking over our shoulder to make sure we’re not in over our head, despite what our anxiety-ridden minds may try to whisper to us as we begin to get flustered in the daily grind. The tool you need may just be a question: “Why?” and the answer you get might be “Oh. Yeah. I don’t know. Nevermind! Unstress!”
As a sidenote- This is where some journaling can come in really helpful, to identify your fears, insecurities and stressful sticking points, but if you’re on the go you can easily just use a little brain power to dig in to the reasons you’re not feeling yourself.
8. Pray. Ask God for grace and to preside over the stressful situation you find yourself in. If you don’t have a whole lot to “chat” about just meditate on something positive that you connect with, like God’s abundant love, all of his holy names or just one word like “peace” or “patience.” Be mindful of not letting your stress-emergency prayer get you into a frenzy of naming everything wrong in your life. You’re in a state of feeling vulnerable and this is for stress relief, don’t take the world upon your shoulders in the name of prayer.
9. Just be still. Sounds simple, right? Go on then. Just be still. Is it working? Are you relaxed? Are you even being still? Your foot is moving, isn’t it. Oh, great, now you’ve looked at what time it is. And thought about checking who has just liked the instagram picture you just posted.
Being. Still. is harder than it sounds but is still included in this list of “super easy” stress relievers because it’s like learning to ride a bike. We’re all pretty awful at it for a little while. But once you’ve gotten used to the uncomfortableness and have trained yourself, you’ve set for good and it becomes incredibly easy. I try to incorporate this one in very small ways of my life. Like stopping to relish a beautiful plate of food I’ve just prepared myself. Or taking a deep breath and looking out over the East River instead of refreshing my Facebook app for the hundredth time. These tiny moments are what let us stop and let our spirits rest for a second to remember who we are, where we are and what we’re doing.
10. Laugh. Saving the best for laughst. Ok, sorry. Anyway, the key to this one might be in a 30 second Jimmy Fallon clip, or texting a friend about an inside joke from 10 years ago. Whatever it is, find a way to smile, free yourself to enjoy the moment, and then go on to tackle your day with a smile.
xoxo and happy healing
Comment below to share your thoughts on your most effective stress eliminators!