Stress is the leading cause of most physical, mental, and emotional problems. We all succumb to its pressurizing perturbations from time to time, and for some, it has become a way of life. Stress is experienced by the body, mind, and emotions as strain, tension, and worry; and, in most cases, it’s preventable!
Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance: Letting Go of Being Cool and Always In Control
It is more than just a simple response to cognitive, environmental, or genetic factors. It completely changes how our cerebellum creates its cascading neurosparkles. Stress informs the brain that we are in danger. When receiving this message, our guardian gray matter rallies its resources and prepares its troops for battle. After this red alert status is triggered, our neural net shifts us into Survival Mode, where it limits thought, perceived possibilities, and courses of action to those associated with preserving life in the face of mortal danger. It also turns off the body’s normal repair and maintenance systems to free up all available resources for what it believes will be a struggle for survival.
No More Stress
With this physiognomy of stress in view, let’s take a look at some natural ways to overcome it. It is important to realize that, since we are all so uniquely different, distinctive curative combinations may be needed by various individuals. What works for one may not work for another. When someone tells you what you need to do, this may simply mean that this is what worked for them. Give yourself permission to be who you are. When you find yourself, accept yourself, and seek the truth responsibly, you will find the ways to rise above your stress.
As an alternative shrink, here are some things that have worked for me, and for those whose healing I have had the privilege of encouraging.
Stress Relief Through Nature
Our finest material world examples of truth, peaceful acceptance, and being present exist within nature. For me, truth is that which is natural without being altered; acceptance as non-resistance to truth; and being present as living with acceptance of the moment as it occurs. If we spend time in nature, and follow her example, our egoic resistance to life will melt away, along with our stress and its various manifestations.
The exotic passionflower, delicate rose, or dancing daffodil wears no makeup, mini skirt, or phony smile; she is not trying to be beautiful; she just is. Birds, crystals, oceans, and oak trees are freedom, magic, power, and majesty. They do not resist life; they are life. They do not seek comfort, popularity, or possessions; they simply exist, fulfilling their purpose, until they are no longer there. Whatever happens, happens. Nature is not focused on its guilt from the past or worry about the future. It has no mind to pollute the present. It simply exists in it. When we become more like the bird, flower, or crystal, our disquietude will dissolve into a delicious desire for living. In this peaceful state of acceptance, our brain will realize that we are safely buttoned up. Nature can help transform our stress into health and happiness.
Hobbies and Stress Reduction
Leisure time activities are an important part of any healthy, balanced lifestyle. They help dissolve dolor through their creativity and release. Whether knitting, cooking, gardening, or baking, writing, strumming, painting, or chair making, hobbies stimulate fecundity, focus energy, and distract us from ennui. When happily investing in our hobbies, our resident brainiac realizes that we are safe and well. Hobbies can help transform our stress into health and happiness.
Exercise Relieves Stress
Weight training, cardio, and yoga improve physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health, showing the brain that we are safe and well. (We would not have the luxury of lifting, scampering, or saluting the sun if our life was in danger.) Exercise also provides structure and focus, improving our mood and distracting the mind from perceived problems. The many health benefits of exercise (greater strength, sexual performance, endurance, concentration, and longevity, to name a few) will create conditions that are incompatible with stress. Exercise can help transform our stress into health and happiness.
Yoga and the Peace Pretzel
Throughout the ages, yoga has been known to create balance, stability, and improved health. When joining the models, dancers, and enlightened lovers in this ancient health practice, our control center realizes that we are out of harm’s way. Yoga helps prevent (benefits stop formation of stress, which keeps brain from shifting into Survival Mode) or decrease (benefits convince brain that we are not in danger, and then it shifts out of Survival Mode) potential stress. Yoga can help transform our stress into health and happiness.
Meditation and Stress Reduction
According to decades of scientific research, and millennia of spiritual practice, meditation is the single most effective method for transmuting stress into peaceful acceptance. Most forms of such speculative contemplation slow the body down, convincing the brain that we are sitting pretty. Meditation can help transform our stress into health and happiness.
Mitigating Stress with Music
Music, the apothecary’s remedy for congestion of the soul, can produce a state of calmness deep within. Her mellifluous melodies convince our gray matter that we are currently impervious to danger. Music can help transform our stress into health and happiness.
Swipe Away Your Stress with Smartphone Apps
There are some remarkably effective tools for transmuting stress into serenity now available at the iTunes Store and Android Marketplace. Apps for everything from meditation to mantras to plucking your eyebrows to brewing your morning coffee can now be found for your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
As you know, there are also apps for monitoring steps, heart rate, breathing, and so much more. Our ever-present gadgets can dissipate our dolefulness, making sunshine, love, and laughter out of rain.
When free to play with our gadgets, our neural net knows that we are shielded from the pain. Smartphone apps can help transform our stress into health and happiness.
Sleep for Stress Reduction
Physical, mental, and emotional systems are more stable and balanced when we get enough rest. If we become fatigued, then these same systems experience depletion, instability, and imbalance, mimicking the conditions generated while under threat. A fatigued state is more likely to cause the brain to shift into Survival Mode because of the physiological (adrenals, thyroid, hormonal), psychological (cognitive distortions), and emotional (shorter fuse or over-reactions) effects from the tiredness.
The brain sees fatigue as weakness and a possible sign of vulnerability to danger. When combined with other things like irritability, anger, and fear, the threat indicators will eventually add up to danger to the brain and the brain will then shift us into Survival Mode, which will increase the severity even further. To master this mischievous little mind trap, it is important that we gain a clear understanding of this concept. Sufficient sleep can help transform our stress into health and happiness.
Can Conscious Eating Help?
Consuming regular meals of fresh, organic food each day, whether hungry or not, will help us regulate the utility of our bodily systems. When our dietary decisions help balance functions like our pituitary, adrenal, thyroid, and other hormones, the brain knows that we are safe. (These functions would be either spiking or depleted if we were in danger.) The better our nutritional balance, the less likely the brain is to believe that our eating habits represent vulnerability to threat. Conscious eating can help transform our stress into health and happiness.
Sex and Stress Reduction
Researchers have recently discovered that meditation and sex are the same to the brain. Because meditation may be the single greatest source of relief from hypertension, draw your own conclusions, while getting naked and grabbing your honey (or favorite sexy toy). Emerging trends reveal that everyone could benefit from having more sex. Sex is an energy source that boosts our physical vitality, emotional stability, mental clarity, and spiritual well-being.
Like superfoods, yoga, and meditation, frequent sex is a requisite element in a healthy, happy lifestyle. Regular love-making keeps the body in better balance. That erotic ascension to orgasm pumps dopamine, our body’s natural heroin-high, into our neural pathways, producing motivation, stamina, and personal power. When we erupt into orgasm, its pulsating pleasure floods us with oxytocin, increasing social effectiveness and decreasing cortisol levels (cortisol causes stress). Higher pheromone levels are sexy souvenirs from the rhapsodic radiance of our sweet sensuality. Regular sex can help transform our stress into health and happiness.