Great little tips on managing stress and the science behind it.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY - you have heard it before exercise is ‘good for you.
- 20-60 min per day is sufficient.
Your body doesn’t know what is causing your stress, but it does read the body. It does feel the movements you make when you exercise. It does know the feeling of jumping up and down. When you use physical activity to combat stress you are speaking to its body language which will decrease your physical stress. What physical stress am I discussing?
Stress is neurological and physiological in your body.
It is used to help you cope and survive.
Hormone activity happens with stress. Some of this is seen as pushing blood into your muscles, glucocorticoids and endorphins to ignore this. So your heart beats faster, your blood pumps harder, and your blood pressure increases. Your muscles tense up, your sensitivity to pain decreases, your other senses are heightened. Your memory shifts to channel a narrow band of experiences and knowledge. Your logical reasoning skills are no longer accessible. Your digestion slows down and your immune functioning shift. Your growth and tissue repair and reproduction systems all diminish as well.
So it makes perfect sense that you can use physical activity to help regulate your physical response to stress. But that’s not the only way.
BREATHING - any movement of your body is a great strategy.
Deep, slow breathing regulates the stress hormone. It is gentlest way to combat trauma and a great place to begin.
Breathe in for a slow five second count.
Breathe out for a slow 10 second count.
Hold your breath for 5 seconds.
Do this three times. Do it daily.
Positive Social Interaction. Casual social interaction makes us happy. It makes us realize we are part of the world and the world can be a safe place.
Science has studies that show people experience greater well-being with police casual chat. Read the article by Epley and Schroeder, “Mistakenly Seeking Solitude.”
LAUGHTER - belly laughs, real laughter decreases stress and increases healing, both in the mind and physically.
Just for even short term effects the Mayo Clinic and their staff of Phd doctors say laughter can stimulate many organs, regulate blood pressure and soothe tension in muscles.
TOUCH THERAPY - physical affection with someone you trust in a safe context can do as much to help your body as much as physically running.
An interesting study in the 6 second kiss….
John Gottman suggests kissing your partner for 6 seconds long. It would take too long to kiss with someone you disliked or someone you distrusted. It requires you to stop and notice that this person likes you and you like them. The kiss tells your body you're safe and therefore decreases your stress. Or try hugging someone for 20 long seconds.
PETS - studies show that petting your animal with affection for a few minutes a day decreases stress.
It lowers your blood pressure and is a safe relationship. There are therapy dogs and horses for example that are doctor approved for a reason. The power of connection makes humans feel safe.
CREATIVE EXPRESSION - often doing what you love, that hobby, that writing assignment, that painting or puzzle project can help decrease stress.
It encourages big emotions and creates tolerance. You can deal with trauma through art, you can deal with the past history or work through an ongoing issue without barely thinking about it through your artful expressions. You may not understand what your body needs until you begin to feed it.
Feel free to add your ‘stress reducing ideas. Thanks for listening,