Stress is a biological reaction that is always part of our lives. The existence of stress can be a natural driver to get things done and enable us to respond appropriately in certain situations. Love it or hate it, stress is embedded within us as one of our natural survival instincts.
Modern societal expectations often drive stress. Work-related stress is also increasingly common with “busy” often perceived by society as a symbol of success. Research has found that people who appear the busiest are often associated as being successful and important. In other words, the more people believe that success is based on longer hours at work, the more they tend to think that people who skip leisure and work all the time are better off than themselves.
However, too much stress is bad for your health as it takes a toll on both your body and mind. According to scientific research, while some stress may be beneficial for health, severe and prolonged stress may have severe health implications.
And the worst part of it all, the level of stress that we are experiencing are often with little or no symptoms.
In this article we share with you how to manage stress to achieve a healthier and happier life.
How can stress affect you?
Stress has become a social issue as we thrive on performance, competition and perfection in today’s modern world, leading to an overload of stress in individuals. Overload stress causes damage that is often underestimated, and it is a social phenomenon that should be closely examined.
- Stress affects our body and health – such as cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks, high blood pressure, stroke, abnormal heart rhythms
- Stress affects our behaviour as it can lead to us developing addiction such as overeating – which can lead to obesity; misuse of alcohol / drugs
- Stress affects our mood and performance at work – it can leave us feeling overwhelmed, irritable, angry, lacking motivation, sad and even lead to mental illnesses such as depression
- Research conducted on workers’ moods found that stressed workers were more likely to be unhappy in their jobs – leading to reduced productivity, an increased likelihood of leaving their job, and an increased number of sick days
Here are 5 amazing and proven secrets to manage your stress and make you feel better!
Let’s explore how stress can be managed instead of allowing it to damage our health and mental condition.
1. Breathe like Wim Hof
Breathing is powerful, and often overlooked, strategy to reduce your stress. Breathing takes in more oxygen into our cells and by learning effective breathing exercises, your mind and body can respond to stressful situations better. This is because when you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax.
One man who has mastered a unique breathing skill is none other than Wim Hof.
Wim Hof is known as The Iceman for his ability to withstand extreme cold and has set two dozen world records which include:
- diving 66 metres under the ice at the North Pole
- running a half marathon barefoot and shirtless above the Arctic Circle
- hanging his body by only a finger at an altitude of 2,000 metres
- standing in a container covered in ice cubes for 90 minutes.
Wim Hof believes that humans have the ability to control their bodies in order to achieve exceptional goals and attributes all of his achievements to a special breathing practice.
He introduced a method called Wim Hof Method, promoting the idea of controlling and building the body’s immune system, as well as the mind, through deep breathing techniques.
He champions the idea of breathing, claiming that by breathing correctly, the body receives massive strength from the increase in oxygen and adrenaline enabling the body to perform at its maximum potential and do the unimaginable.
Wim Hof method has proven to be effective in managing stress. Many have claimed that his breathing techniques to be effective. The body’s reactions to stress, such as fast breathing, increased heart rate, and high blood pressure, are decreased when you breathe deeply to relax.
As a result, your mind and body may be drawn toward calmness and you’re able to focus on effective solutions rather than stress reactions consuming the resources required to manage in stressful situations.
Now you can learn Wim Hof breathing technique tutorial for free by watching this video:
2. Yin Yoga
Yoga has emerged as the perfect remedy to slow down in our fast-paced modern world. Yoga is a combination of breathing techniques, physical exercises and meditation. There are two major types of yoga – Yin and Yang.
Yin Yoga is the slower and more gentle style of yoga where you’ll learn how to stay still, quiet the mind and simply breathe. This style of yoga targets the connective tissues which are our ligaments and joints, including the areas that are often neglected and normally not exercised very much. Yin Yoga is also known as the passive form of yoga which involves few static movements where you only need to hold certain poses around two to three minutes.
Here is an example of a Yin Yoga pose from YogaJournal.com
Here are 12 Yin Yoga poses which you can do at home!
While holding the poses, Yin Yoga will teach you about settling and being comfortable with the position your body is led into, breathing deeply and focusing on the moment.
What better way to slow down than to sit still in poses anywhere and meditate from three to ten minutes? By doing Yin Yoga, you are giving yourself plenty of time to do nothing other than just breathe deeply and release stress.
While you’re at it, certain poses enable your tissues to be stretched and strengthened which could improves flexibility and releases energetic blocks as well as tension and tightness from your joints and muscles.
Yoga is also known as the exercise of the mind as it helps you to meditate by staying still and simply control and observe the thoughts, emotions and sensations that you experience at the moment without judgement.
Here is a useful video on Yin Yoga for beginners!
3. Yang Yoga
Yang Yoga is the faster paced style of yoga which involves movement-oriented practices that build heat and generate muscles power. It is dynamic and you’ll learn how to resist the force of gravity, thus building muscles, endurance and strength. This style of yoga involves continuous flow of poses which are not held for a long period of time.
This Yang style of yoga carries different names such as Vinyasa, Bikram, Hatha and Ashtanga (Flow). Exercise in almost any form has some direct stress busting benefits primarily due to the release of endorphins, the feel-good neurotransmitters.
A number of studies have found that the practice of the specific Yang style of yoga can potentially reduce stress as well as decrease levels of anxiety and depression. Unlike other forms of exercise, Yang Yoga not only emphasizes active movements, it also incorporates breathing as well as some meditation into its fast-paced flow of movement.
You’ll learn how to move seamlessly from one pose to another, using breath. Connecting the faster paced movements with your rhythm of breath allows the body and mind to relax as you move into your transitions with deep inhales and slow exhales.
With regular practices of connecting your breath and breathing through the awareness of pain and discomfort from the dynamic movement in Yang Yoga, you can begin to overcome both the physical and mental problems associated with overload stress.
Therefore, combining both Yin and Yang elements in one yoga session or on your own me-time anywhere can have a powerful effect on your stress level. You get to train your mind as well as the body to respond better, think clearer and feel calmer and happier. Now that’s balance!
4. Consume the Right Herbal Supplements
While the busy and fast-paced modern lifestyle is often associated with stress, stress has actually affected people for thousands of years ago. One of the ways people managed stress during ancient times was by using herbal therapies.
While conventional medications may be crucial to treat some diseases, in the case of managing stress, some pills can have some frightening side effects – eg: Xanax, Klonopin Valium and Ativan are common fast-acting drugs that are prescribed to manage stress and anxiety.
According to Calm Clinic, instead of relying on the drugs to do their work on your cells for you and make you feel better instantly, herbal medicines help you to learn valuable anxiety-coping strategies which then gradually improve your body’s response towards stress.
Herbal supplements such as Tongkat Ali are proven by scientists to reduce stress. The primary bio-active compound alkaloid – which is also found in coffee, nicotine and other common substances, was found to improve overall mood.
A study conducted by a well-known psychonutritionist Dr Shawn Talbot published at The Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition showed significant improvement in mood. This study was performed in 2013 on 63 men and women who were in a reasonably stressed state.
The results showed that 200mg daily of Tongkat Ali for 4 weeks resulted in reduction in Tension by 11% and reduction in Anger by 12%. More detailed result here.
Another useful tip that could help you in reducing stress and performing your actions efficiently is by journaling.
Journaling involves writing or noting down details about how you feel and think about something. This tip is super versatile as it’s all up to you on how you want to practice it. The trick is to simply express your thoughts and emotions onto a piece of paper (or even your gadgets since we’re living in a digital era).
With the rise of social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others, people can easily update their status instantly be it in the form of writing, photos or videos. However, this exercise doesn’t necessarily involve pen and paper, book or digital notepad or even social media as you can even do or visualise it on your mind (mental note) while you’re meditating.
Research has found that writing about positive emotions may help to reduce stress and anxiety. Although emotional writing may not be the most appropriate stress-relieving strategy for those suffering personality trait problems, they can always engage with it by modifying it into mentally noting their emotions, thoughts, past experiences, future plans or other things that has been held inside them causing unnecessary overloading of stress. Together with proper breathing techniques and meditation practice, you’ll be able to practice this method successfully anywhere.
The reason behind is that when you practice noting down, be it physically or mentally, you are training your brain to respond appropriately, activating your brain cells into clearer thinking as well as giving you space for better reflection.
When you are in a stressful situation, noting down your emotions and thoughts gives you some awareness about yourself and eventually leads you into discovering the solutions to your problems.
When you acknowledge how you feel, by noting it down, you’ll be able to reflect on those feelings and have a clearer picture on how to act on it. In other words, befriending your thoughts and emotions by observing how they take over control under different circumstances will guide you to produce the best possible outcome, thus maintaining a good level of stress.
The best part about this method is that people can do it at a time and place that is convenient for them, in their own unique ways and it’s free!
After looking at these tips and tricks on managing stress, we can conclude that managing stress is more about the journey than it is about the destination.
You are encouraged to experience the best possible ways to regulate our body and mind constantly. So these tips are best practiced regularly – say once a week, or you can religiously embrace it as a daily routine!
So how do we measure progress or signs of improvements after completing all the 5 amazing secrets?
As we advance into the modern and fast paced world, knowing how to take advantage of a new technology is the key. There are various apps as well as devices to help you in your stress management journey and track your progress.
One of the technologically advance gear that you can purchase is called Muse.
Muse is a meditation assistant device in a form of wearable headband where it senses the electrical rhythms of the brain. This device is so cool that it helps you to monitor your brain electrical activity and gives immediate feedback so that a pattern can be achieved and viewed clearly.
Disclaimer: Content published in this article is not intended to provide any form of recommendations, directly or indirectly to purchase or consume herbal supplements, drugs, medications, alternative remedies and practices or any brands mentioned in this article. By reading this, the sole responsibility and decision lies on the reader to make an informed decision based on publicly available information published on the internet. Any herbal supplements can be used as a health supplement, dietary plan or to treat illnesses. However, we encourage you to consult your nearest doctor before making any purchase from this website or any other websites or social platforms after reading this article. We do not hold any responsibility or accountability for any products purchased from this website or any third-party websites that are linked to this articles, sales channels or social platforms