Mental Well-Being

The Easiest Ways to Overcome Stress

April 4, 2024

A big promise for a blog title, right? Can you really overcome stress easily? It is possible if you know that the body’s stress response is caused by a physical increase in cortisol and adrenaline, which can be balanced by an increase in feel-good hormones such as endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. But what can get those feel-good guys flowing?

Feel better and overcome stress holistically this spring

April is Stress Awareness Month, so what better time to talk about managing stress than right now? Many of us are prone to getting into our heads when we feel stressed. We may even be inclined to try to think our stress away. This doesn’t work nearly as well as taking a cue from the body itself. Here are some easy ways to get out of your head and work with the body’s natural cycles and rhythms this spring:

Get outdoors more often

As the warm weather returns, we don’t need to tell you to get outside. In fact, many of us are pulled to spend more time in nature, whether we are gardening, hiking, enjoying a pick-up game or just taking a walk. Being outdoors and taking in the natural sunlight releases feel good hormones in our body that increase feelings of happiness, peace, and pleasure. Not bad for just stepping out of your front door, right?

Take a walk

Whether you are getting outdoors or heading to the inside track on a rainy day, taking a walk benefits your body and mind in amazing ways. Exercise, even if it is gentle like walking, increases the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, releasing feel good chemicals and helping you to focus. Walking can also increase your creativity and energy, help you sleep better and boost your mood. All of these are beneficial in the fight against stress.

Spend some time breathing

Breath practices are essential when it comes to managing your stress. Simple breathing exercises stimulate the vagus nerve, activating the parasympathetic nervous system and bringing you down out of your anxious fight-or-flight stress response. One simple practice is sighing. That’s right, just take a full inhale and when you exhale let it out through your mouth. You can also increase the length of your exhales while performing deep belly breathing. Both of these practices are best done seated and in a quiet place (if possible) so you can tune into your body and hear your breath.

Sleep tight

How do you feel when it’s time for bed? Do you feel anxious that you won’t be able to fall asleep? Do you stay up late scrolling your phone or making to-do lists? Or do you crash only to sleep restlessly off and on all night? Taking care of your sleep cycle and rest is an important act of self-care that can greatly reduce the effects of stress on your body. Consider decreasing your alcohol consumption, avoiding screens a few hours before bed and incorporating some gentle stretching into your bedtime routine to combat decreased levels of serotonin. Daily exercise, a healthy diet low in sugar and caffeine and getting plenty of natural sunlight during the day can also help you sleep better at night.

Reducing stress holistically by making lifestyle changes is a great way to take your health into your own hands. Stress may be a villain when it comes to root causes of chronic illnesses, but you can overcome it by making changes that will boost your health and mental wellbeing this spring!